Maybe, the glass is more than half full!

by Harold Shumacher

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Maybe, the glass is more than half full

Hard data about restaurant sales is often hard to come by-most of what we hear is anecdotal (a salesman guesstimating revenues based on the number of cases of tomatoes consumed in a week) or an owner throwing out a number in a casual conversation..

One local source, however, often proves more reliable-Bob Wagner, an accountant specializing in the hospitality industry and his sister company, Net Financials Outsourcing.

Twice a year the company conducts a survey of Atlanta based restaurant companies. This year there were 53 participants and the results are interesting.

First, the good news. Aggregates sales in February 2010 are up over the previous years by one percent.  Sixty percent of the respondents (32 companies) recorded increased sales over the previous years while 21 had decreased sales.   This is a distinct improvement from last year when 79% had declining sales.

The big winners-casual dining and neighborhood-focused restaurants. Fine dining and visitor focused restaurants did less well.
Among owners and operators we’ve spoken to over the past few weeks-sales seem to be trending up. The nice weather has been a help especially for restaurants with outdoor seating and patios. The start of baseball season, a sure sign of spring, is another positive as people begin to move around the city more. While we’re not yet out of the woods, the end of 2010 should look better than the beginning.

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