Most profitable restaurants?

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Cooking4Fun

Senior Cook
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Jun 23, 2020
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Buffalo
What type of restaurants are the most profitable? I have read pizzerias have as much as a 600% markup on many items and yet after overhead may only get 5 to 10% profit. Which restaurant types do the best?
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
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Sep 13, 2010
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near Montreal, Quebec
I imagine it is the restos that sell a lot of expensive wine. There isn't a lot of labour involved in wine and the mark up is pretty good. I knew someone who was planning on opening a resto, but she wouldn't even consider it without a liquor license.
 

blissful

Executive Chef
Joined
Mar 25, 2008
Messages
4,911
Incredibly small portions
Exorbitant prices that you don't know until the bill comes
Inebriated people with lots of money to spend
Located in the richest counties and towns
Staff that gets minimum wage or less
:)
Can you tell I prefer to eat out less than once a year, if I must.
 

Cooking4Fun

Senior Cook
Joined
Jun 23, 2020
Messages
214
Location
Buffalo
Incredibly small portions
Exorbitant prices that you don't know until the bill comes
Inebriated people with lots of money to spend
Located in the richest counties and towns
Staff that gets minimum wage or less
:)
Can you tell I prefer to eat out less than once a year, if I must.
Yeah I like to make it count too. Lol.
 

IC 2.0

Cook
Joined
Aug 17, 2022
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72
Location
Honolulu, HI
By profitable are you talking about net profit or gross sales? On average a fast food type of restaurant probably makes the most in terms of net profit due to the lower labor cost (no hosts, bartenders, smaller kitchen staff, no chef, etc.) A high volume buffet or fine dining restaurant will have higher gross sales, but less net profit.

Your average restaurant that actually makes money is lucky to take 5% to the bank. That's $500 of NET profit for every $10,000 in sales. That's why owning a restaurant is such a risky venture, especially if you don't understand food costs, labor costs, or how to read a P/L statement. It's why after 20 years in the industry I would NEVER own my restaurant. At the end of the day, to me, the return is not worth the risk or rewards.

So think about this: whether your tab is $20, $50, $100, or $500, that restaurant owner is only pocketing anywhere from 3-5% off the total bill. If that restaurant is in a hotel and operated by the hotel (not a concession), even when busy it's probably losing money due to the union labor costs.
 
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pepperhead212

Executive Chef
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Nov 21, 2018
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Woodbury, NJ
Incredibly small portions
I actually think that only those extremely overpriced restaurants have those extremely small portions. And I think part of the problem with the American diet is the extremely large sizes they started making, whenever it was they started doubling the sizes, and the prices - it was more profitable to make a double meal, and send half of it home with a customer in one of those Styrofoam containers, and basically, they had 4 meals, with just 2 customers. But many people just started eating the double meals...or more.


Can you tell I prefer to eat out less than once a year, if I must.
You and me both! The last time I ate at a restaurant was when my sister passed away, in March, 2019, and a bunch of us gathered at a favorite Chinese restaurant of hers. And the last time I ordered something, to be delivered, was in 199...something, when some friends were over one day to bake Christmas cookies, and we stopped after about 4 hours, and we got 2 pizzas, and ate them in my living room (the dining room table was getting full, and no way to cook in the kitchen!).
 

blissful

Executive Chef
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Mar 25, 2008
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4,911
@pepperhead212 I agree with how they supersized everything and it is a problem. But I actually think that they could provide large portions IF they just served basic food and not processed, sugared, oiled, buttered, fried, over salted, junk. Try to go to a restaurant and get a baked potato that isn't first slathered in oil, or PLAIN broccoli, steamed no oil. It's hard to find.

The processed foods and ultra processed foods in grocery stores comprises 90% of what they sell. No wonder there is a health crisis. So the food we eat out is much more expensive and the health crisis makes us pay on the other end too with medical bills and high insurance.

But anyways, we ordered out a fish fry in 2018, and both of us had gut aches that night. I felt like I ate a load of stones. Then in 2020 we went to visit my son in another state and we went to a restaurant with a salad bar, found enough to fill our plates, (half the offerings were processed and ultra processed foods) carried in our own dressing--but they did have vinegar available, so I could use that. We found awesome leafy salads in the deli cases at minimart gas stations. We found a huge salad bar inside a grocery store so we ate that while traveling. We carry most of our food now.

Tomorrow mr bliss is traveling to see a friend and go metal detecting with him. His friend asked if he was bringing a meal for them--and so he is bringing minestrone soup w/ww pasta and red bean brownies. Sunday I plan to visit a friend and bring the same thing and my friend is kind of a health nut too.

Here's a great idea for a healthIER restaurant: John Mackey, co-founder of Whole Foods Market, plans to build a plant-based restaurant chain. Mackey is listed as a partner in Healthy America LLC, Bloomberg reports, which aims to launch vegetarian restaurants nationwide. :D
Well, that would be a start of something good.
We can all benefit and eat what you want, and put your money where your mouth is.
 

Cooking4Fun

Senior Cook
Joined
Jun 23, 2020
Messages
214
Location
Buffalo
By profitable are you talking about net profit or gross sales?
I mean profit. I suppose gross income might help indicate stability and flow of customers, but I'm interested in cost per day and money gained per day.

...And I think part of the problem with the American diet is the extremely large sizes they started making, whenever it was they started doubling the sizes, and the prices - it was more profitable to make a double meal, and send half of it home with a customer in one of those Styrofoam containers, and basically, they had 4 meals, with just 2 customers.

Definitely. High wheat, salts, and sugars. Anything to cut costs. I often think people my age 100 years ago must of felt much younger.

Yeah, I also hate most fish fries. I often ask to see if a restaurant offers baked. Too few seem to offer it baked.
 

dragnlaw

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Feb 16, 2013
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Waterdown, Ontario
Here, the Tim Horton's coffee chain is one of the most profitable things going on. There is a waiting list to buy into the franchise, (reportedly in the 10/20 year wait). It costs 1 million dollars to buy. Which is paid back in the first year.
I drive by a Tim Horton's taking the grands to school, there is a 15-20 car line-up at the pick-up window.
I go to a big box grocer with another Tim Horton's in the shopping centre, again, there is always at least, 10 cars waiting to go thru the pick-up, no matter what time of day.
Why do these people need these coffee so much? Why cannot people walk across a street without a bottle of water or a coffee in their hands!
The only time I have a coffee outside of the house is when I have an 8 hour drive ahead of me. I'll pick-up a coffee 2 hours out. And about 4 hours out I'll get an Uncle Burger at Wendy's. Now I have not driven 8 hours in 18 months.
I have not bought a coffee and I have not eaten outside of the house in all that time. I go out at least 3 times a week for whatevers and don't need a coffee to go.
I don't know how much a coffee is at Tim's but Starbucks? WOW - how can people afford this? and they do this every day, and probably several times a day!
Rant over....
 

Cooking4Fun

Senior Cook
Joined
Jun 23, 2020
Messages
214
Location
Buffalo
Here, the Tim Horton's coffee chain is one of the most profitable things going on. There is a waiting list to buy into the franchise, (reportedly in the 10/20 year wait). It costs 1 million dollars to buy. Which is paid back in the first year.
I drive by a Tim Horton's taking the grands to school, there is a 15-20 car line-up at the pick-up window...
Yeah, it can be crazy. I'm from Buffalo. I think we had the first union started at Starbucks. Hopefully unions reduce profits a little in these runaway Ponzi schemes. Tim Hortons is cozy, but I only really drink their hot cocoa. The theme seems to be the most profitable businesses largely sell beverages of varying value?
 

Andy M.

Certified Pretend Chef
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Sep 1, 2004
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49,602
Location
Massachusetts
Fountain drinks have some of the biggest mark-ups. The large Coke you pay $2-$3 for costs the vendor about 25¢.
 

dragnlaw

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Waterdown, Ontario
Andy, it is probably even less cost for the vendor.

One of my students worked for a BIG name cosmetics company. OK, yes, I'm talking 20 years ago... but even then it was staggering. A lipstick, which retailed for anywhere from $8.00 to $15.00, costs them $0.04! and that included the packaging!
Now, let me think.... how much of a mark-up is that?
Jewelry was, last time I heard, is a 400% mark-up.

Tim Horton's (we used to also have Dunkin' Donuts in Canada as well, but they got squeezed out to Timmy) also have soups, wraps, breakfast thingies and such. Actually had a grilled cheese quite a few years ago and it was tasty. As was a chicken wrap.
 
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