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Survey-Atlanta’s Independent Restaurants Whip Up Strong Sales

by Steven Josovitz

Atlanta’s Independent Restaurants Whip Up Strong Sales

By Robert Wagner, CPA

September 2010 was a watershed for Atlanta’s independent restaurants. Not only is the Great Recession receding as a bad memory but same-store sales are picking up significant momentum going into the crucial fourth quarter when restaurateurs hope to finish the year with strong holiday sales.

NetFinancials September 2010 survey of 67 independent Atlanta restaurants, its third survey of 2010, reveals that September same-store sales increased a whopping 7.4% over sales for September 2009. The September same-store sales gains are broad-based, rippling through three major Atlanta restaurant sectors – fast-casual, causal and fine dining.

How are individual restaurants doing?

A hefty majority of Atlanta restaurants were really cookin’ in September. Of 67 restaurants surveyed, an amazing 78% reported positive sales trends compared to September 2009. Thirty-seven percent of restaurants surveyed showed double-digit sales gains in September. That is a startlingly strong up-tick in sales volume.

The September results contrast with our May 2010 survey which showed that only 55% of restaurants reported same-store sales increased over May 2009. September’s 7.4% sales increase is twice the 3.7% increase in same-store sales measured in May 2010.

The NetFinancials’ September sales survey also looked at year-to-date sales trends. Sixty-one percent of the restaurants in the survey reported 2010 year-to-date sales gains over 2009. Again, that is a significant improvement over the May 2010 survey in which only 50% of restaurants indicated that year-to-date 2010 sales were ahead of 2009.


Robert Wagner, NetFinancials president states that, “Finally Atlanta same-store sales are accelerating! Our September survey shows clearly that the recent, long recession is giving way to a substantial, broad-based recovery of sales among Atlanta’s independent restaurants. The survey results are easily the best sales trends we have seen in several years. In addition, there are indications that sales will remain strong through the rest of 2010.”

The Sample: The 67 independently-operated, non-franchise restaurants were drawn from the metro Atlanta market. Total September 2010 sales in our survey were $10,566,420. Our sample included restaurants in Atlanta’s fast casual, casual and fine-dining segments.

Robert Wagner, CPA is president of NetFinancials, Inc. which provides a full range of tax and accounting outsourced services for restaurant companies. Email: 404-874-7002

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