Skip to content
This month we look at: ground beef prices, the difference between bookkeeping and accounting, and national restaurant sales trends from April. 


Mother's Day brunches, lunches and dinners are behind you. We really know what a monumental effort it takes to prep, staff and serve guests every day, let alone on what tends to be one of the busiest days of the year for many restaurant folks. We’ll break down the sales in next month’s newsletter. As you can see below, Easter sales were through the roof for our fast casual clients.

Did you catch our Star Wars version of product release notes? I certainly hope so, we were really excited to share the iterations of Marge, our mascot.

May has been really busy for the team, we launched our shiny, new referral program. If you know some colleagues in the industry who could benefit, you can pocket $600(!) per referral for a limited time.

Know someone who would like to join our 43,000+ subscribers? Forward to a friend or send them this link.

- Tracy & the MarginEdge team


[Sign up for our newsletter] Get sales data and restaurant insights straight  to your inbox each month




Year over year restaurant sales by segment

April National Restaurant Sales & Price Movers

By segment, Fast Casual narrowly ended up below Full Service, with a drop of 3% in sales and Full Service at a 2% drop compared to April 2022's numbers. Overall sales ended at -2%. Easter weekend saw huge growth, particularly for Fast Casual, which topped out at more than 50% above last year, and just above 10% for overall combined sales. 

Kabocha squash, lettuces and strawberries filled out our Price Movers list. Rising lettuce and strawberry prices are unsurprising, and likely a result of  California's extreme weather and flooding earlier this year

Food, beer, wine and liquor costs as a percentage of sales all dropped for MarginEdge customers in April, with food costs averaging a healthy 26% of sales.

Dig in to the full report.


Crooked Hammock Brewery | Multiple Locations

Crooked Hammock Brewery | Multiple Locations


Ground Beef

With the summer season quickly approaching, outdoor patios are filling up and guests may be looking for ways to get backyard grill flavors without the hassle of charcoal, lighter fluid or propane tanks. Based on some gloom and doom sounding news articles I was reading earlier this year (Largest beef supply drop in 40 years and 2023 Cattle Prices Could Reach Records) I would have wagered we were going to be looking at some significant price jumps by now.

According to our data, prices have been pretty flat since February. Now it’s only about halfway through the year so there’s plenty of time for prices to rise, but we are glad to see prices remaining stable thus far.

Item to watch chart: ground beef


As you probably know by now, I appreciate all your feedback - please reply & let me know if there’s an ingredient you’d be interested to see here.


CFO 1 Source | New Orleans, LA

CFO 1 Source | New Orleans, LA


What’s the difference between bookkeeping and accounting?

We have been talking to a number of clients who are not sure of the difference, so thank you Denise, for asking this question!

There’s a detailed account here of the differences if you want to really dive in, but high level (and adding restaurant metaphors because I like them) a bookkeeper tracks of all the daily transactions and records them in a book (or more likely a software program like QuickBooks), similar to a prep cook who (usually before 10 a.m.) butchers all the meat, makes all the sauces, and cuts all the vegetables. They handle very important tasks and make sure everything is organized and accurate. 

Bookkeeping is a foundational aspect of accounting. Since accountants use the information gathered by bookkeepers to prepare financial statements and reports, the accounting process wouldn’t be possible without the help of bookkeepers.

An accountant, on the other hand, is like a line cook who takes the mise en place from a prep cook and turns them into a delicious dish. Accountants use bookkeeping records to assess big-picture finances and make smart business decisions for a restaurant's financial health. Accountants also help with tax preparation, financial planning, and making recommendations based on the numbers.

Ask [me] anything!
Really. Each month we’ll take a look at the questions we get and answer one here. Have a question about our product, accounting or restaurant operations in general? Email me or message us on our social media channels.


The Fountainhead Pub | Vancouver, BC

The Fountainhead Pub | Vancouver, BC


Order Inflation Up 

Taking a look at this month’s Consumer Price Index Summary, we see a little more of a spread growing in the food segment. While food at home (aka groceries) decreased 0.2% compared to last month, the food away from home category rose 0.4%. Compared to the overall 4.9% inflation increase since last April, restaurants are showing 8.6%. notes their Q1 2023 foot traffic trends may signal consumers may be accepting of overall higher prices and are willing to pay more to dine out.

Our data shows April 2023 overall sales down 2% from last year. Restaurant Business Online had predicted lower sales figures but higher margins throughout 2023. Taking a look at Square’s Future of Restaurants Report (note it is gated), diversification may be helping – they report 21% of restaurant revenue, on average, comes from products and services outside of their core restaurant offerings.



What's [me] into


    • National Restaurant Association Show (May 20-23, Chicago) - The show for restaurant operators. Stop by booth 5653 to say hello.
    • Sage Partner Summit (May 22-24, Las Vegas) - Got restaurant clients? We’ll be talking with accountants interested in growing and scaling their business. 
    • Scaling New Heights (June 25-28, St. Louis) - Sharpen your pencils, folks – we’re a sponsor at this leading accounting technology event.



    • Hospitality Leaders - Insightful conversations with leaders in the hospitality, food service and event industries. A recent episode discusses using AI to improve customer satisfaction.
    • All in the Industry®️ - Host Shari Bayer gets restaurant and hospitality professionals to reveal their stories and expertise through a lively and reflective conversation about the industry.
    • Radio Cherry Bombe - Kerry Diamond, founder and editor of the indie magazine Cherry Bombe, talks to the chefs, bakers, creatives, and entrepreneurs making it happen.
Sign up to get our monthly newsletter, The Board