There's a handy resource for those in the restaurant industry and those simply interested in the numbers and the trends behind the food we order. It's Restaurants & Institutions. What was the top-grossing independent restaurant in America last year? That would be the Tao Las Vegas Restaurant & Nightclub at the Venetian with food and beverage sales of close to $60 million. Coming in a distant second is the now-closed Tavern on the Green ($27 million). Readers in the Washington area will not be surprised to learn the Old Ebbitt Grill places fifth ($24.5 million). At this very moment there is probably a sightseeing family waiting to be seated for a 4:30 dinner.
I learned, however, that R&I will cease to exist by the end of next week. As the site explains:
Our parent company, Reed Elsevier, announced in July of 2009 its intentions to substantially exit its Reed Business Information-US publishing business, while retaining specific businesses. Over the past several months, multiple publishing brands were divested. As of April 16, 2010, the remaining publishing brands and their associated products and services have closed.
As a result Restaurants & Institutions has closed. No additional print issues will be published, and this web site will close on April 30, 2010.
Best of luck to all those on staff. In the meantime, let us reflect on some of the other interesting stats from the site while it's still around:
The top five chains in the United States (as of the July 2009 report) are McDonald's, KFC, Burger King, Starbucks, and Subway. Last on the list (at 400) is something called The Spaghetti Warehouse based in Irving, Texas. Ahead of it are chains I've never heard of, such as Hot Dog on a Stick, Roly Poly, and Arctic Circle—I assume the latter serves ice cream. I was also surprised to learn some chains I presumed long extinct are still around, including Shakey's and Godfather's Pizza. Who knows, maybe there's an arcade next to them that features Zaxxon and Spy Hunter (the one you sit down in, naturally).