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Restaurant Profit Margins: Understanding Profits In The Restaurant Business

The restaurant industry is growing at an exponential pace with the concept of cloud kitchens & multi-outlet quick-service restaurants opening up rapidly in metro cities. We’re being introduced to mainstream Pan-Asian cuisine, quirky concept cafes & exquisite new forms of desserts. All of this indicates that the restaurant industry is booming with new players entering the market and disrupting the industry and at the same time customers willing to give a chance to new offerings in the market. With the market growing, many are trying to get a piece of this growing industry with their restaurant venture and earn a profit. 

Restaurant profit is a function of revenue and cost. Restaurant Profit = Gross Revenue – Total Cost. This simple equation is a great deal for all business owners. Ultimately, all business decisions are taken in order to ensure the survival of the business, earn a huge profit or aim for revenue growth or expansion. The profit & loss statement of your restaurant can give an accurate picture of the phase of your restaurant and help you in decision making. Find below a reference to a basic P&L statement of a restaurant. 

New entrants to the market and rise of third-party aggregates have made the restaurant space highly competitive which has affected survival, profits and growth. So what all has changed in the past decade? Let’s take a look! 


Margins in the restaurant business have gradually trimmed down due to multiple reasons. Below is the list of factors that have impacted the margins of restaurants:-
Offer-centric Customers
To penetrate the market by acquiring new customers, popular third-party platforms such as Swiggy, Zomato and UberEats have embedded the concept of discounts and freebies in the mind of all customers. Ergo, restaurants have to let go of important margins up to 20% just to acquire or retain customers via offers or loyalty programs. This has also ensured a high burn rate in the initial months for almost all new restaurants that are trying to make a space for themselves in the market.

Profitability Elements

restaurant business owner must always have themselves aligned with important financial milestones in the business such as having operating profits, reaching the break-even point, maximizing all revenue streams and more. Here is a quick look at all key elements that you must be thorough with while aiming for a profitable restaurant business in India. 
Operating Profits
The sum total of all revenue generated by a business minus all costs incurred during the time of operations is operating profit/loss. A restaurant will generate revenue from dine-in customers, delivery orders or by event catering while the costs that it would incur in the process will include rent, staff salaries, cost of raw material, utility bills and marketing costs. Higher operating profits ensure the survival of the business in the long run. 
Break-even point
The point in business where the all-time total revenue is equal to costs incurred since the inception of the business is referred to as the break-even point. For a new business, this would be an important milestone as all revenue made from this point onwards (minus the operating costs) is profit for the business owner. Basically, at this point in the business, the restaurant owner would have recovered the initial investment that would have been required to commence the business. 
Cost of operations
Digging deep into the cost of operations, your primary costs every month would be the cost of raw material and inventory which would be your food costs. Ideal food costs vary from 20% to 35% of the selling price of the dish which makes it pivotal to keep a track of your cost per dish or cost per serving. Eliminating all wastages can bring down your cost of operations and make your operations more efficient. Operation costs will also include staff salaries, utility bills, marketing costs, and third-party commissions if the restaurant has partnered with an aggregator. 
Revenue Components
All sources of business from where it generates sales are known as the revenue components. For a restaurant business, orders are pretty much the primary and only source of revenue. However, a restaurant can get orders in multiple ways. An owner can lever dine-in orders, delivery orders, and takeaway orders to generate maximum revenue. Key metrics to track your revenue trends are daily/weekly/monthly orders, average basket size and repeat rate.
It can be a little tough for you to keep track of all of these components but new-age restaurant software will help you with all of this with strong analytics and data insights.

Scope of profit in different restaurants

All restaurants don’t have the same recipe for success which makes it essential to make a calculated decision when it comes to estimating profits in a new venture or maximizing them in an existing one. Your revenue & costs will depend on your restaurant type. Here’s a quick walkthrough of the scope of profits in different types of restaurants. 
Fine Dine
With investments on the higher side, a fine dine restaurant runs with a high operational cost including an experienced and well-trained fleet of chefs and attendants. Lavish crockery lined up neatly on designer furniture will add on to the costs. However, as you serve exquisite caviar along with a glass of red wine to customers who are willing to pay a high price for the experience your business would generate high ticket bills hand over fist.  Profits could vary from 20% to 35% while running at full capacity. In order to maximize your revenue, you need to focus on metrics such as occupancy rate and average billing size.
Cloud kitchen 
A fairly new concept in the restaurant space, cloud kitchens are the safest bets to start your restaurant at a minimal cost. They are a low-risk model that can offer low to high rewards basis the cuisine that you are offering to the customers. Cloud kitchens give you a head start in terms of profitability as they cut down the cost of operations by avoiding space/location costs. You can open multiple brands from one kitchen itself to get multiple streams of revenue keeping the cost of operations about the same.
Casual cafes are a low-risk bet compared to fine dine restaurants due to their mass appeal to the millennials and their low food costs as they usually open up with American and Chinese cuisine. However, high revenue and subsequently high profits in cafes occur in phases. The target group easily moves towards the new trending and buzzing cafes which makes marketing costs unavoidable for the business. You constantly need to be innovating and avoid the risk of getting off-trend. A dine-in loyalty program can do wonders to your repeat rate which will help you get regular revenue from a loyal customer base. Profitability will hover around 20% for a moderately successful cafe.
Food Truck
Largely dependent upon the location and footfall for revenue, food trucks require slightly lesser investments compared to an average cloud kitchen but can turn out to be highly profitable. As most of them offer finger food which has huge popularity among all types of customers, food trucks with low food costs and maintenance cost make quick cash over the counter. A successful food truck can earn up to 40% profit. However, these profits may be relatively low compared to other restaurant models in terms of the absolute value of profits.
Hope you liked this blog. If you are looking for opening any food franchise, looking chefs for your restaurant, planning to open a new restaurant or cafe then don't worry SelectDine is there to help you out. Call us or visit our website to know more.


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