P&L assistance


What are the national averages, in percentages, for a successful restaurant concept’s P&L in the 175-seat, casual eatery category?


Benchmarks can be useful. Keep in mind, however, that they are tools to help you in analysis and management rather than some sort of preordained standard. You need to keep in mind the unique financial situation of your operation. For example, if you are in a major metropolitan area, rent will be expensive; other restaurants may own their real estate. Minimum wage or tip credit law, your menu mix, deals with suppliers or purchasing groups and your staffing structure will determine your expense ratios.

That said, benchmarks are available from restaurant associations and research and consulting firms. They usually have some differences due to different methods of collecting the data. Baker Tilly’s Restaurant Benchmarks reports, as illustration, gives:

Prime Cost, 65% of Total Sales
Food Cost, 32% of Total Sales
Liquor Cost, 20% of Liquor Sales
Bottled Beer, 25% of Bottled Beer Sales
Draft Beer, 18% of Draft Beer Sales
Wine, 40% of Wine Sales
Soft Drinks, 15% of Soft Drink Sales
Payroll Cost, 30-35% of Total Sales
Management Salaries, 10% max of Total Sales
Hourly Employee Payroll, 20% of Total Sales
Employee Benefits, 20% of Payroll Costs
Rent, 6% or less of Total Sales
Occupancy, 10% or less of Total Sales

On the revenue side, to keep these expense percentages in line, look for at least $200 in sales per square foot to break even, and double that to be profitable, especially where expenses are high for the reasons we discussed.

Want to ask advice guy a question?

Refresh Type the characters you see in this picture. Type the characters you see in the picture; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.  Switch to audio verification.

Today's top stories

Two iconic hot dog stands are catching some of the buzz over this year’s baseball playoffs by waging a snarky Twitter battle over whose city has the better team—and taste in dogs. Putdowns of the Los...
Lemonade has hired Larry Kurzweil, a former CEO of Universal Studios Hollywood, as chief executive of the growing fast casual. Kurzweil replaces co-founder Alan Jackson, who has taken on the role of...
First, congratulations on what sounds like tremendous success! I’m very happy for you. My overall advice is harsh but simple: too late. You should have agreed to the terms of your new position before...
The operators of two Johnny Rockets restaurants in the Washington, D.C., area have agreed to pay $571,460 to servers who were required to share tips with back-of-the-house employees. The back wages...
Domino’s dodged the traffic free fall that walloped much of the restaurant industry during the third quarter, posting a domestic same-store sales gain of 13% systemwide and 13.8% for franchised...
Slim Chickens has appointed former Noodles & Company executive Mark Mears its new chief marketing officer. As CMO, Mears will assist the 40-plus-unit better-chicken brand with spurring sales...
The parent of Fatz Cafe has named former Joe’s Crab Shack president Jim Mazany to its chief executive post. In his new role, Mazany—who has also held leadership positions at Applebee's and TGI...
Chili’s Grill & Bar may have been founded in 1975 by a group of “hamburger hippies,” but a new marketing campaign and a few culinary tweaks are reinventing those tastes for today’s customers. Not...
Although beef prices have moderated somewhat in the second half of 2016, meat-centric restaurants still are hedging their bets by developing more cost-effective meat dishes. And many of these items...
As traffic to Disney World grows, so too must the dining and retail options that serve it. That idea drove the resort to make over its shopping and dining district as Disney Springs, Downtown Disney’...