Archive for July 31st, 2007|Daily archive page

Money Making Restaurants


It was announced last week that Tao Las Vegas was the highest grossing restaurant in the US. How much did it gross?

According to the NY Times

In 2006, its first full year open, Tao did $55.2 million in business, or $16 million more than its closest competitor, Tavern on the Green in New York.

Even judged against other huge-volume restaurants, where revenues in the tens of millions are not unusual, Tao is setting a new standard. In figures for 2000, when Tavern on the Green was in the No. 2 spot behind Windows on the World, the gap between them was a razor thin $485,000.

Michael Desiderio, the chief operating officer of Tavern on the Green, marvels at the vital statistics for Tao Las Vegas: it served 600,000 meals, its average dinner check was $70, and 50 percent of its revenues came from alcohol.

“It’s really a nightclub with the food to complement the club,” Mr. Desiderio said.

Here’s the rest of the best.

  1. Tao Las Vegas Restaurant & Nightclub, Las Vegas
  2. Tavern on the Green, New York City
  3. Joe’s Stone Crab, Miami Beach
  4. Tao Asian Bistro, New York City
  5. Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington, D.C.
  6. Gibsons Bar Steakhouse, Chicago
  7. Bob Chinn’s Crab House, Wheeling, Ill.
  8. Mix In Las Vegas, Las Vegas
  9. Fulton’s Crab House, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
  10. “21” Club, New York City

For many years, New York’s Tavern on the Green was the top earner, which sometimes alternated with the city’s Windows on the World (and The Russian Tea Room was often on the list as well). While New York restaurants gross more, Las Vegas will likely become the top earning city by next year. Also, while American, seafood, and steak still reign supreme, pan-Asian themed restaurants comprise number one and four in the top ten.

Does this imply America’s palate is ever more sophisticated? Not so much. Very high-end restaurants are either at the bottom of the list, like New York’s Daniel (#65), or do not even appear (French Laundry and Per Se do not make the cut). So, it appears if you want to make a killing opening a restaurant (which is an unusual happenstance), you need to focus on liquor and expensive seafood and steaks. Those chefs who are artists will remain respected, but not necessarily rich. (from Epicurious)

And apparently if you name you’re restaurant Tao, you’re destined to be in the Top 10.

Photo from Flickr.