It’s common knowledge by this point that opening a restaurant can be a very, very risky endeavor. Restaurants come and go — in many cases they won’t even stay open for a full year. But some restaurants beat the odds, raking in millions upon millions of dollars every year and becoming legendary in their respective cities in the process. These are the 25 most popular restaurants of 2015.
Every year, the good folks at Restaurant Business rank the top 100 highest-grossing independent restaurants based on gross food and beverage sales for the previous year, defining “independent” as having no more than five locations. They gather their data through surveys sent to restaurants. In the few instances when the data isn’t provided, they estimate sales to the best of their ability based on public information and other factors. In short, these restaurants rake in a huge amount of money, and they’ve got the facts to back it up.
According to a study conducted by Ohio State University, between 57 and 61 percent of restaurants shut down within three years of opening. And even when restaurants attain longevity, especially in the major cities, pulling a substantial profit isn’t easy after all the bills are paid. Restaurant owners don’t often become rich people, but those who run restaurants that rake in upwards of $17 million annually, as all the restaurants on our list do, should definitely consider themselves lucky.
According to Statista, there are currently about 630,000 restaurants in the United States, or about one for every 500 people. That’s a whole lot of restaurants. What’s the secret to raking in so much money that you’re one of the top 25 highest earners in America? We bet that even the owners of those restaurants won’t be able to tell you the precise reason. But all these restaurants are certainly worth knowing about. We bet that if you’re lucky enough to enjoy a meal at any of them, you’ll walk out feeling that your money was well-spent.