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Ah, sweet summertime. The sun is out, the kids are at camp, and the tourists—well, the tourists are out in full force. That’s great news for restaurant owners, who are primed to take advantage of an influx of foot traffic and revenue. But it also means juggling seasonal hires, unpredictable inventory needs, and working overtime to make their spot the most attractive one on the boardwalk.

Because of this, restaurant management platform Upserve has released new data in its Restaurant Food and Beverage Sales Report, which is based on millions of transactions from thousands of restaurants across the U.S., to help restaurant owners be better informed about sales this summer season.

summer menuThis data, based on June through July 2017, offer a look back at historical seasonal performance of beer, wine, liquor and food, as well as labor and wage trends, and provide actionable insights that help restaurants make better decisions on everything from planning inventory to updating menus to staffing accordingly during key summer months.

In analyzing vacation spots throughout the country—including Los Angeles and Palm Springs, California; Miami, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; Portland, Maine; Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Lake Ozark, Missouri; the Hamptons, New York; Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; and Austin, Texas—Upserve finds:

  • Miami is by far the number one vacation spot for a boozed-up bash. Florida’s finest party city pulls in an average of $3,096 in daily liquor sales. That’s 42 percent more in than the Hamptons, which has the next highest liquor sales at $2,011, and 86 percent higher than the total average sales ($1,225) for all vacation towns studied.
  • Los Angeles is the place to be for beer in the summer months, with $1,539 in average daily brew sales—the highest of any other top vacation spot and a stark contrast to Miami’s average beer sales of $315 per day.
  • While Miami and the Hamptons might be expected to do well in liquor sales, more surprising is that, when looking at total items sold, Lake Ozark, Missouri, outpaces all other vacation spots. Selling the highest volume of liquor-based drinks, restaurants in Lake Ozark sell an average of 30 percent more liquor items than the next highest city (Myrtle Beach).
  • Tennessee may be known for its brown liquor, but Nashville actually sells more wine items (98 on average per day) than any other vacation destination, a whopping 23 percent more than the next highest seller, Myrtle Beach (77 on average).

Tennessee may be known for its brown liquor, but Nashville actually sells more wine items than any other vacation destination, a whopping 23 percent more than the next highest seller, Myrtle Beach.


Upserve also puts top vacation spots head-to-head in a battle of food and beverage sales:

  • Myrtle Beach vs. Charleston: Myrtle Beach sells 86 percent more beer than Charleston, and while both cities have a similar item sales-to-profits ratio, Myrtle Beach sells almost 100 more liquor items per day on average than Charleston.
  • New Orleans vs. Nashville: New Orleans and Nashville run a tight race, but it seems Nashville takes the cake for a cheaper food and booze experience. Both cities sell around 80 liquor items daily (Nashville: 85.2; New Orleans: 80.8), but Nashville’s daily sales average $630 to New Orleans’ $887.
  • The Hamptons vs. The Cape: Cape Cod restaurants sell an average of 14 percent more wine than its New York vacation counterpart. However, restaurants by New York’s finest beaches make 23 percent more in daily liquor sales than those in Massachusetts.

As previously reported by Upserve, Q3 has the highest rate of labor turnover for restaurants and bars. Data reveal that the highest turnover has been seen in positions for counter service/cashier (36%) and support staff of bussers and dishwashers (34%).

In analyzing vacation towns and the college towns of Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Flagstaff, Arizona; Gainesville, Florida; Athens, Georgia; Champagne-Urbana, Illinois; Bloomington, Indiana; Ames, Iowa; Manhattan, Kansas; Columbia, Missouri; Ithaca and Syracuse, New York; Durham/Chapel Hill, North Carolina; State College, Pennsylvania; College Station, Texas; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Madison, Wisconsin; Upserve also finds:

  • Servers in vacation towns, who want more cash for the additional work they take on during the peak June to August season, see an 18 percent average increase in their wages between April and September.
  • Restaurants in college towns, which increase wages to keep students around, pay servers an average of 12 percent more from April to August. Despite these efforts, college town staffing still tends to drop in June and July.
  • Come September, college town restaurants are especially ambitious to attract returning students. Pay rates for management, servers, and kitchen staff are at their highest of the previous five months.

Click here to download the complete, free report from Upserve.

Written by   |  
Meghan is an award-winning journalist and content marketing manager who lives to tell stories. Her favorites include highlighting all things restaurants, from front-of-house hospitality to back-of-house grit. When she's not writing about them, you can find her eating her way through Providence and Boston searching for inspiration with a rye Old Fashioned in hand.
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