Newer Restaurants Netted Revenue Increases in 2010

by Robert Bell  on Monday, Mar. 7, 2011 12:00 am  

On last year's Arkansas Business list of top-grossing restaurants, North Little Rock's Golden Corral bumped Red Lobster - long the No. 1 eatery in town - from the top spot.

The all-you-can-eat buffet topped the list again this year, with a 2.6 percent revenue increase for 2010.

(Click here to see a PDF listing of the top Little Rock restaurants or here for a spreadsheet version. The top North Little Rock restaurants list is available here in a PDF format or here as a spreadsheet.

For revenue details on upscale dining, click here. The top restaurants in several other Arkansas cities is available here.)

All revenue figures for the restaurant and hotel lists are based on the hotel-motel-restaurant taxes paid to the cities' advertising and promotion commissions and convention and visitors bureaus. Unlike sales taxes paid by most retailers, HMR tax records are subject to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

The HMR tax is applied to food, but not to alcoholic beverages. In Fayetteville and Little Rock, hotels that have restaurants do not separate prepared food sales from room revenue, so figures for those restaurants are not included on the list.

This year, Red Lobster's Little Rock location, which was the top standalone restaurant for many years, slipped one spot.

Olive Garden came in at No. 2 on this year's list, second only to HMSHost, which owns the dining operations at Little Rock National Airport. The Italian chain had a revenue increase of 1.6 percent, while Red Lobster slipped 3.9 percent in Little Rock and 4.3 percent in North Little Rock. Elsewhere in the state, the seafood chain was down as well, with a 3.3 percent decline in Fayetteville and a 3.9 percent drop in Hot Springs.

One might be tempted to conclude that Arkansas diners haven't been in the mood for seafood lately. But Flying Fish in Little Rock moved up five spots on the list to No. 12 and logged its sixth consecutive year of increasing revenue.

West Little Rock's Bonefish Grill, which largely serves up seafood, made the list for the first time since it opened in mid-2007, logging $2.2 million in revenue, a 7.7 percent increase year over year.

Several newer restaurants saw increases in 2010.

Ya Ya's Euro Bistro, which opened in 2009, was another newcomer to the Little Rock list. The restaurant saw a 15.6 percent increase in revenue, which General Manager Neal Coay attributed to word of mouth and increased foot traffic at the Promenade at Chenal, the west Little Rock shopping center where Ya Ya's is located.



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