How Much Do Restaurant Owners Make: Restaurant Owner Salary in 2023

how much do restaurant owners make
Image source: lavu

If you’ve ever wanted to own a restaurant, you might be curious about how it all works. There is a lot more to running a restaurant than just having good food and a convenient location. It involves a lot of attention to detail and keeping up with a broad range of tasks, from marketing to finance to human resources. While some think this figure depends solely on the kind of restaurant you operate, the truth is that there are many factors that can influence it. That is to say, understanding how much restaurant owners make gives you an idea of your earning potential and helps you start planning your career path. Are you curious about the answer to the question, ‘How Much Does Restaurant Owners Make’? Stay tuned to get more insight into how much restaurant owners make in NYC and California in a year.


It can be hard to know how much money you will make when you decide to open your own restaurant. Most of the time, it is reasonable to anticipate that a restaurant owner’s salary should equal less than half of the overall profits made by the restaurant. This is because restaurants do not make a consistent quantity of revenue, their earnings are subject to consistent shifts.

As a result, it is challenging to accurately estimate their compensation until the year has come to a close. For instance, a large, fine-dining seafood restaurant will have different labor costs and equipment needs than a small, mom-and-pop breakfast spot. While expenditures and profits certainly play a part in how much a restaurant owner can make, many other factors determine the success of a restaurant and the people who work there.

Is Opening a Restaurant a Good Investment?

Restaurants can be good investments, but they have a high rate of failure within the first five years, making them a high-risk investment. If you must invest in a restaurant, choose an established one (ideally a franchise) and study the financials before signing on the dotted line.

How Much Do Restaurant Owners Make a Year

The amount restaurant owners earn typically depends on the success of their restaurant, but the average salary for the owner of a restaurant is $57,381 per year. This is because restaurant owners are entrepreneurs who manage their own companies, they have a large amount of control over their salaries and earnings. Hence, as the restaurant becomes more profitable, they can afford to pay themselves a higher salary. When restaurant owners first open their business, they may start with a small salary, then increase their earnings as the business gains a reliable customer base.  As a result, no two restaurant owners’ salaries are comparable. Some owners make as little as $30K to $40K a year, while some owners enjoy a 6–7 figure salary ($200K+) each year. 

Determinant to How Much a Restaurant Owner Can Make a Year

You might be wondering how much do restaurant owners make. Well, a few factors will determine a restaurant owner’s salary.

#1. Costs to Run the Restaurant

Before you can pocket any money, you have to have enough allocated for running the restaurant. For example, you need to have enough money to cover the outgoing operational costs, such as the following:

  • Lease
  • Payroll
  • Inventory
  • POS system
  • Food costs
  • Investors
  • Real estate

#2. The Total Profit of the Restaurant

Whatever profits are made once you deduct all expenses and payroll will influence how much money you take home. However, based on the sales and net income you make, you should, on average, be taking less than 50% so you can reinvest the rest into the restaurant, to make more money later.

#3. Seasonality

Sometimes your customer numbers can stay steady, surge, or dramatically decrease based on the season you’re operating in. For example, if you are open during a seasonal holiday like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter, your sales could decline a lot due to customers opting to spend the season with family. On the contrary, you might experience a boost in your sales during a popular time when people choose to dine out with friends and family, like New Year’s Eve.

#4.  Weather 

The weather of the day, week, or month can affect how much food or drink the average restaurant sells. Most of the time, the restaurant industry tends to do incredibly well in the summer months. Similarly, in colder climates, your restaurant could attract more customers due to the warmth it provides. thus increasing your salary. 

#5. First-Year costs vs. other Years

If your restaurant is new and operating in its first year, you may have a lower salary due to specific overhead costs to run it. For example, you might have higher rent, equipment costs, and insurance costs for the first year of running your business. As a result, you could have less profit and therefore have to take a lower salary to survive until you’re established. 

#6. Location

The success of the average restaurant can often heavily depend on where it’s located. If a restaurant is in a busy area, it’s more likely to attract customers, gain popularity, and make more sales. As a result, you can earn more through restaurant ownership. Ideally, restaurants that have the following can earn slightly more:

  • Parking
  • Situated in the city center
  • Next to a school or college
  • Inside a shopping mall
  • Accessible via public transport 

How Much Do Big Restaurant Owners Make?

According to research, big restaurant owners can make $139,500 or more annually. On the other end of the spectrum, it’s estimated that 17% of restaurant owners earn an annual salary of only $18,500 to $30,000. They say the national average for a restaurant owner’s salary is around $72,000 per year.  

How Much Do Restaurant Owners Make in NYC

As of May 15, 2023, the average pay for restaurant owners in NYC is $102,742 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $49.40 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,975/week or $8,561/month. As much as NYC restaurateurs’ perennial lament that staying buoyant is tougher there than anywhere else in the country grows louder each time another restaurant closes, rents are tremendous, wages are rising, regulations are complicated, and don’t even talk about the price of fresh produce.

How to Calculate the Salary of Restaurant Owners in NYC

Calculating how many restaurant owners are in NYC can be difficult. In most cases, it’s expected that a restaurant owner’s wages should amount to less than half of the restaurant’s total profits. Since restaurants do not make a fixed amount of income, profits can fluctuate regularly, making it difficult to truly know your yearly salary until the year is complete.

However, with the help of a profit and loss calculator, you can easily calculate and determine your salary as a restaurant owner. Additionally, the structure and performance of your business also have a huge impact on potential earnings. Though it will be difficult to predict an exact figure, I will provide a detailed list of steps to help you determine a general range of restaurant owners in NYC.

#1. Determine Profit Margin

To calculate their salary, a restaurant owner must first determine what their profit margin is. Hence, profit margin is a standard measure of a business’s ability to make money. Whether you’re new to the restaurant industry or have been operating a restaurant for years, understanding profit margin is essential to your success. Not only does it make it easy to identify how successful your business has been, but it also gives you insight into when you should make an effort to lower expenses. 

#2. Identify the Ownership Structure

The ownership structure of your restaurant can have a massive influence on your salary. As the sole proprietor of your business, the profits you bring in will go to you. However, if you have business partners or other companies with a vested interest in your restaurant, you will need to divide your earnings.  Also, if you plan on entering into a partnership to open your restaurant, make a point to determine how each partner will be paid early in the process. Doing so will make it easier to calculate your own salary in the future.

#3. A Sales Forecast

A sales forecast is a valuable tool to help restaurant owners in NYC make decisions about several aspects of their business, including salary. By accounting for future earnings and trends, entrepreneurs can gain a general expectation of how much profit they’ll make during a set period of time, making it easier to determine annual income.

#4. Prepare for Fluctuation

Since profits can change regularly, knowing what makes them change and when they might affect them can help to project salaries. Seasonal popularity, growing demographics, and changing food service trends are just a few factors that can influence how much money your restaurant makes throughout the year in NYC.

Is Owning a Restaurant Profitable?

Restaurants are profitable, but it depends on many factors such as location, concept, management, and market demand. The restaurant business is known for its tight profit margins, with the average profit margin for a restaurant business being between 2% to 6%.

How Much Do Restaurant Owners Make in California

California is expensive. There’s no way to argue that fact. It is the third-most expensive state in the country for everything from the cost of living to gasoline to a head of lettuce which are the exact things needed to get your restaurant up and running. There are a few basic costs when opening a restaurant that is fairly universal and other costs (like licenses and taxes) that are state-specific, In general, the start-up cost for restaurant owners in California, or anywhere, has a floor of about $200,000 to $300,000. And that’s before deciding on basic decisions of what kind of restaurant and where.

How To Set Up a Restuarant In California

If you’ve been dreaming of joining the restaurant owners in California, we’ve got your back. This small business guide will help get you started on the right foot to owning your own restaurant in California,

#1. Create a Business Plan

First, make a plan for your restaurant. Here’s what you’ll need to decide before you move forward with starting a restaurant:

  • What your restaurant concept
  • The kind of food to sell
  • Name of your restaurant
  • Location of your restaurant

#2. Prepare your paperwork Ready: Registering and licensing a restaurant in California

Once you’ve picked your name, you’ll need to register it with state and local authorities and start applying for the proper California restaurant permits and licenses. But, for restaurant owners to operate legally in California, you’ll need to make sure all the required paperwork and food safety precautions are in order before you open your doors. This includes meetings with the health department, public health inspections, and licenses needed to charge sales tax.

#3. Know Your Budget

The amount of money small restaurant owners in California need to open depends on several factors like the overall concept, location and zoning, type of cuisine, alcohol license, permits (if necessary), and more. Also, creating a budget plan for your restaurant is where you’ll really need to dig in and do your research. Owning your own restaurant can be risky, and a smart budget is the key to success. Here’s what you’ll need to budget consider when opening a restaurant in California:

  • Consider your starting costs
  • Your inventory cost
  • Estimate operational costs
  • Project your revenue

#4. Plan Your Restaurant and Kitchen Equipment

Once you’ve created a restaurant business plan, you’ll need to determine what tools and equipment you’ll need to serve the food on your starting menu. Remember, as restaurant owners start simple you can always purchase more equipment later as you grow in California. Make sure to think through everything you’ll need to serve customers on day one. Depending on your concept, local, and menu, your list could include any of the following,

  • Dining tables and chairs
  • DecorPoint of sale (POS) system
  • Prep tables
  • Oven
  • Microwave
  • Food storage
  • Food processors
  • Deep fryer

#5. Hire workers

Now you need to employ the right restaurant workers to help run your restaurant. But remember, before you start the hiring process, you need to have workers’ compensation insurance in place. In addition, each person you hire will need training not only for how your restaurant business operates, but they’ll also need food safety training and a California Food Handler Certificate.

Can You Become a Millionaire Owning a Restaurant?

However, what many people don’t realize is that the restaurant industry is one of the easiest fields in which anyone can become extremely wealthy. No matter where you start in the restaurant industry, you can become a millionaire or more.


  1. RESTAURANT MARKETING: What You Should Know and Strategies
  2. How To Open A Restaurant In 2023:  Free Tips & How to Open It with No Money
  3. RESTAURANT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM: Guide to Effective Restaurant Management
  4. BEST 30 MARKETING IDEAS: +Free Tips[Updated 2023]
  5. RESTAURANT MANAGEMENT: What It Is, Jobs, Salary, Software and More
  6. HOW TO MANUFACTURE A PRODUCT: Step-By-Step Guide to Turn Your Idea Into a Product
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like