3 restaurant expenses you should consider

How to Budget A Restaurant: A Beginner’s Guide

Table of Contents


Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Review by 
Hoang Tran

Full Bio

Ms. Frances Dang is a visionary CPA, Partner at XOATAX, and a Tax Expert for many high-net-worth clients and corporations. She specializes in both minimizing tax liabilities and driving sustainable growth. Over 7 years of dedicated service, Ms. Frances has provided personalized planning for high-net-worth clients including business owners, investors, and entrepreneurs spanning manufacturing, e-commerce, biotechnology, fintech, services, and non-profit sectors. 
Kevin Zhang renowned CPA and Tax Expert with over 15 years working in tax planning and financial optimization for individuals and large businesses. He excels in analytical abilities and innovative problem-solving, identifying tax minimization opportunities, and providing strategic recommendations to leadership teams.
Hoang Tran  is an accomplished CPA and financial advisor with over 8 years of experience. He specializes in providing tailored financial solutions, tax optimization, and strategic guidance to individuals and businesses. With a client-centric philosophy and a commitment to continuous learning, Hoang has earned a reputation as a trusted expert in personalized financial strategy. His expertise has helped businesses across diverse industries, including manufacturing, import & export, and wholesale & distribution, achieve their financial success.

Imagine walking into a bustling restaurant filled with the aroma of freshly cooked dishes, a warm ambiance, and the chatter of satisfied customers.

Running a successful restaurant business may seem like a dream come true, but it’s essential to understand the financial aspect to make it a reality.

That’s where learning how to budget a restaurant comes in handy.

Key Takeaways

  • Budgeting is crucial for maintaining financial control, supporting growth and expansion, and managing risks in your restaurant business. Three key restaurant expenses to consider include labor, food and beverage, and rent.
  • Creating a comprehensive restaurant budget involves six steps: identifying expenses, categorizing expenses, determining revenue, setting financial goals, allocating your budget, and monitoring and adjusting.
  • Regularly reviewing and adjusting your budget ensures that you stay on track with your financial goals and maintain control over your restaurant’s finances.
how to budget a restaurant

Understanding Restaurant Budget

A restaurant budget is a financial plan that outlines your estimated income, expenses, and profit for a specific period. It helps you manage your finances and make informed decisions about your business.

A well-structured budget allows you to allocate resources efficiently, track performance, and adjust when necessary. You can make better menu pricing, staffing, and overall operations decisions.

What Is Included in Restaurant Budget?

A restaurant budget plan typically includes revenue, expenses, and profit. Revenue refers to your business’s revenue, while expenses encompass all operating expenses.

Profit is the difference between revenue and expenses, representing the amount of money left over after all costs have been accounted for.

When creating a budget, it’s essential to consider semi-variable costs and food costs. Fixed expenses remain constant, regardless of the level of business activity.

These include rent, insurance, and salaries. Variable expenses, on the other hand, fluctuate based on factors such as customer traffic, menu pricing, and sales volume.

How Important Is Restaurant Budget?

Budgeting is crucial for any business but especially vital for restaurant owners. Here are three reasons why restaurant budgeting is essential:

Financial Control

A budget helps you maintain control over your finances by allowing you to track and manage your income and expenses effectively. By understanding your financial position, you can make informed decisions about your business operations, such as hiring, menu development, and pricing.

Growth and Expansion

A well-planned budget allows you to set financial goals and allocate resources accordingly. This enables you to grow your business and invest in new opportunities, such as opening new locations, expanding your menu, or upgrading your equipment.

See how restaurant owners can read and create balance sheets in just 15 minutes

Risk Management

A budget allows you to identify potential financial risks and take corrective action before they escalate. By closely monitoring your finances, you can detect potential issues and address them proactively, ensuring the stability and longevity of your business.

3 Restaurant Expenses You Should Consider

Before diving into budgeting, you should understand the key restaurant expenses. Let’s explore three critical expenses that every restaurant owner should consider: labor, food and beverage, and rent.

Labor Expenses

Labor expenses are a significant part of any restaurant budget. These costs include wages, salaries, and benefits for your staff. In the restaurant industry, labor costs can be divided into two main categories: front-of-house and back-of-house.

Front-of-house staff includes servers, bartenders, hosts, and managers responsible for providing excellent customer service and ensuring smooth operations.

Back-of-house staff includes chefs, cooks, dishwashers, and other kitchen personnel responsible for preparing and delivering quality food.

Managing labor expenses effectively is essential to maintain profitability and provide a positive dining experience for your customers. To achieve this, you must consider factors such as staffing levels, scheduling, and employee training and development.

what is included in restaurant budget

What Is Included In Labor Expenses?

  • Wages and salaries
  • Overtime pay
  • Employee benefits (e.g., health insurance, retirement plans
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Payroll taxes
  • Training and development costs
  • Employee uniforms
  • Employee meals and discounts

How to Calculate Labor Expenses?

To calculate labor expenses, you can use the following formula:

Labor Expense = (Hourly Wage x Hours Worked) + Additional Labor Costs

Let’s consider a specific example:

Meet John, the owner of a small bistro. He has three employees: a chef, a server, and a dishwasher. Their hourly wages are $20, $12, and $10, respectively.

Each employee works 40 hours per week. In addition, John provides health insurance, which costs him $300 per employee per month.

First, calculate the weekly wage expense for each employee:

  • Chef: $20 x 40 hours = $800
  • Server: $12 x 40 hours = $480
  • Dishwasher: $10 x 40 hours = $400

Next, calculate the total weekly wage expense: $800 (chef) + $480 (server) + $400 (dishwasher) = $1,680.

Finally, add additional labor costs, such as health insurance, payroll taxes, and other expenses, to determine the total labor expense.

how important is restaurant budget

Food and Beverage Expenses

Food and beverage expenses are another significant aspect of a restaurant budget. These costs include the raw materials used to prepare menu items and any beverages sold in the restaurant.

To manage food and beverage expenses effectively, restaurant owners must consider factors such as inventory management, portion control, and supplier relationships.

What Is Included In Food and Beverage Expenses?

  • Cost of raw ingredients (e.g., produce, meat, dairy, grains)
  • Beverages (e.g., alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks)
  • Packaging materials (e.g., to-go containers, napkins)
  • Condiments and garnishes
  • Cooking supplies (e.g., oils, spices, herbs)
  • Waste and spoilage

How to Calculate Food and Beverage Expenses?

To calculate food and beverage expenses, you can use the following formula: Food and Beverage Expense = (Total Sales x Cost Percentage). Let’s consider a specific example:

Meet Sarah, the owner of a casual dining restaurant. She has total monthly restaurant sales of $50,000, and her food and beverage cost percentage is 30%.

First, calculate the total food and beverage expense: $50,000 (total sales) x 0.3 (cost percentage) = $15,000.

This means that Sarah’s restaurant spends $15,000 monthly on food and beverage expenses.

what is included in labor expenses

Rent Expenses

Rent expenses are another crucial component of a restaurant budget. These restaurant costs include the monthly rent for your restaurant’s physical location and any additional charges, such as property taxes, insurance, and maintenance fees.

Discover The Top 10 Benchmarks for Restaurant Owners

What Is Included In Rent Expenses?

  • Monthly rent or lease payments
  • Property taxes
  • Building insurance
  • Common area maintenance (CAM) fees
  • Utilities (e.g., electricity, water, gas)

How to Calculate Rent Expenses?

You can use the formula Rent Expense = Base Rent + Additional Charges to calculate rent expenses. Let’s consider a specific example:

Meet Carlos, the owner of a pizza parlor. He pays $5,000 per month in base rent.

In addition, he pays $500 in property taxes, $300 in building insurance, $200 in CAM fees, and $1,000 in utilities each month.

First, calculate the total additional charges: $500 (property taxes) + $300 (building insurance) + $200 (CAM fees) + $1,000 (utilities) = $2,000.

Next, calculate the total rent expense: $5,000 (base rent) + $2,000 (additional charges) = $7,000.

This means that Carlos’s pizza parlor spends $7,000 monthly on rent expenses.

Step-by-step Guide: How to Budget A Restaurant?

Now that we’ve explored the key expenses involved in running a restaurant let’s dive into the six-step process for creating a comprehensive budget for your business.

how to calculate labor expenses

Step 1: Identify all of your expenses

  • List all fixed and variable expenses for running your restaurant, including labor, rent, food and beverage costs, etc.
  • Research industry averages to ensure your expense estimates are realistic and accurate.

Step 2: Categorize your expenses

  • Organize your expenses into categories, such as labor, food and beverage, rent, marketing, and equipment.
  • This categorization will make tracking and managing your expenses easier throughout the budgeting process.

Step 3: Determine your revenue

  • Calculate your expected revenue based on factors such as menu pricing, customer traffic, and sales volume.
  • Consider seasonal fluctuations and other factors that may impact your revenue.

Step 4: Set financial goals

  • Establish your restaurant’s short-term and long-term financial goals, such as increasing revenue, reducing expenses, or expanding your business.
  • Use these goals to guide your budgeting process and inform your financial decisions.

Step 5: Allocate your budget

  • Distribute your budget across the various expense categories based on your financial goals and operational needs.
  • Monitor and adjust your budget allocations as needed to ensure your expenses align with your financial targets.

Step 6: Monitor and adjust

  • Regularly review your budget and compare your actual expenses and revenue to your budgeted amounts.
  • Adjust your budget as needed to address any discrepancies and maintain financial control.
what is included in food and beverage expenses

Example of Restaurant Budgeting Plan

Let’s create a budgeting plan for Sarah, the owner of a casual dining restaurant, using the six-step process outlined above:

Step 1: Identify expenses

In this first step, Sarah creates a comprehensive list of all variable and fixed costs for running her casual dining restaurant. This includes labor cost, food and beverage cost, rent, marketing expense, equipment purchases, and maintenance costs.

Step 2: Categorize expenses

Next, Sarah organizes her expenses into categories to simplify tracking and management. For example, she groups together all labor-related costs, such as wages, benefits, and payroll taxes, under the labor category.

Similarly, she combines all food and beverage expenses under the food and beverage category, including the cost of raw ingredients, beverages, and packaging materials.

Step 3: Determine the revenue

In this step, Sarah estimates her monthly revenue based on factors such as menu pricing, customer traffic, and sales volume. She analyzes historical sales data and considers any seasonal fluctuations or other external factors that may impact her revenue.

By determining her expected revenue, Sarah can create a realistic budget that accurately reflects her restaurant’s financial situation.

how to calculate rent expenses

Step 4: Set financial goals

Sarah establishes short-term and long-term financial goals for her restaurant. For instance, she sets a goal to increase her revenue by 10% and reduce food and beverage expenses by 5% over the next year.

Therefore, Sarah can guide her budgeting process and make informed decisions that align with her restaurant’s objectives.

Step 5: Allocate budget

Sarah distributes her budget across the various expense categories based on her financial goals and operational needs. For example, she might allocate more funds to marketing efforts to help achieve her revenue growth goal while also focusing on cost-saving measures in the food and beverage category to reduce expenses.

Step 6: Monitor and adjust

Finally, Sarah regularly reviews her budget and compares her actual expenses and revenue to her budgeted amounts. This allows her to identify discrepancies and adjust as needed to address these issues.

By closely monitoring her budget and making data-driven adjustments, Sarah maintains financial control over her restaurant and stays on track to achieve her financial goals.

In Conclusion

Running a successful restaurant business can be a daunting challenge, with numerous expenses to manage, financial goals to meet, and critical decisions to make. Don’t let the complexities of budgeting and financial management overwhelm you.

Subscribe to our blog today to gain access to valuable tips, insights, and resources that will empower you to take control of your finances and make well-informed decisions that contribute to your restaurant’s success.

Stay ahead of the game and ensure your restaurant thrives by joining our community of industry experts and like-minded business owners.

Subscribe to Our Blog.

Stay up-to-date with the latest accounting tips and industrial news


Subscribe to Our Blog.

Stay up-to-date with the latest accounting tips and industrial news


Call Now

Do you wish to continue with the call?

Please provide your phone number and we will contact you within 2 hours

You have successfully submitted your phone number

.printfriendly { text-align: right; margin-bottom: 20px; } #printfriendly-text2{ background: transparent; border: 1px solid #2abc63; padding: 12px 20px; } .printfriendly a{ background: transparent; border: 1px solid #2abc63; padding: 12px 20px; }
Table of Contents