Golden Corral Beats Red Lobster in Highest-Grossing Restaurant List

by Jamie Walden  on Monday, Feb. 2, 2009 12:00 am  

Montine McNulty says that controlling costs is important to consumers.

Different Styles

A closer look at the rising and declining restaurants shows how different types of restaurants are faring.

Of the restaurants on the list that are full-service, which includes table service, 12 saw declining revenue in 2008 while only four full-service restaurants felt an upswing.

The opposite is true in North Little Rock.

Of the full-service restaurants on the North Little Rock list, 12 stores experienced revenue growth in 2008 while four declined.

Fast food restaurants on the list and their higher-quality counterparts, the "fast casual" restaurants, which don't include table service, told a different story.

Of the fast food and fast casual restaurants in Little Rock, sales at 11 stores grew in 2008 while sales at the other three declined.

For the same year, nine of the fast food and fast casual restaurants on the North Little Rock list grew, while five stores watched revenue fall.

"It could be that people that were coming to Little Rock are staying home and eating in North Little Rock," McNulty of the AHA said.

Overall, much of consumer behavior during 2008 centered on cost control, McNulty said. Whether it's seen in McDonald's capital performance, a fledgling Chick-fil-A's sprint to the third-highest grossing restaurant in Little Rock or the resurgence of Franke's Cafeteria, consumers are spending more frugally.

With those restaurants, consumers "can control their costs," McNulty said. "And I think, again, in this kind of an economy that's probably a very attractive choice for customers."

Of the 13 "upscale" restaurants in Little Rock and North Little Rock that Arkansas Business tracked, only one that had been open for two full years – Ferneau in Little Rock – showed an increase in revenue. (See table.)

Copper Grill & Grocery in downtown Little Rock opened in July 2007, so it was open twice as many months in 2008 but reported only 62 percent more revenue.

Two of the upscale restaurants have closed since the end of 2008: Aydelotte's in North Little Rock, which has converted to a U.S. Pizza Co., and Gypsy's Bar & Grill in Little Rock.

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