The news of Ounce Prime Steakhouse closing came to me last night from my husband, he happened to be driving down Montfort yesterday and noticed two paper signs on the door. This coincided with research I was doing about how the industry is doing since the economy soured. An evaluation of August vs. September Mixed Beverage Gross Receipts tax (a 14% tax paid by restaurants, bars and clubs on all liquor, beer and wine served) as reported by the TABC. This is what I do - I'm an accountant.
Take the currently released report (10/27/08) which covers August's sales - but some early payers have September data included as well. I've included in my calculations every Dallas licensee who has both September and August 2008 figures available - which means only those who paid their September taxes early. I didn't break down by size or classification ("upscale", "clubs", or "topless bars" - who appear to be doing EXCEEDINGLY WELL in this economy). Nor will I specify information about any specific licensee - except to say that Ounce did pay their August taxes - early.
August to September sales data represents in this industry the end of the summer "drought", when many patrons are traveling on vacation. The kids are returning to school and everyone wants to enjoy the end of the 100 degree temperatures. So one would normally see tax receipts rise as sales increase. Sad to say, it's just not so.
Of the 119 Dallas licensee figures that are available for both August and September there was a drop of $67,475 in taxes paid, or a decrease of 9.5%. This translates into a decrease in (beverage) sales at these locations of $481,964, plus change just based on August-to-September numbers, imagine what the September '07-to-September '08 numbers will end up. These early payers represent approximately 11% of Dallas's licensed purveyors, and only those that could send in their taxes early.
So of course, my next question is who is going to be making up the tax shortfall? You guess.