Leader Blues

Monday, November 26, 2007

TOP STORY >>Tax shows eating out popular

By RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

Do people eat out a lot?
The answer appears to be yes, based on the prepared food tax amounts collected by Jacksonville, Sherwood and Cabot.
People spend more than $7.26 million a month in area eateries, mostly at fast-food places, according to tax records from the three cities.

In Cabot alone, through the first nine months of the year, the city has collected $504,310 in prepared food taxes meaning more than $33 million was been spent so far this year on eating out.

Jacksonville, which initiated a two-cent prepared food tax, also known as the hamburger tax, that started Oct. 1, is just in its first month of reporting, but with 45 of 69 businesses turning in the tax so far for October, it appears people spent more than $2.5 million in the city’s eateries in just that month.

Jacksonville businesses have until Dec. 1 to turn in their October tax collections. Cabot collects a 1.5 percent fee from 70 businesses, and based on taxes remitted for the month of September, more than $2.8 million was spent in Cabot in September on prepared foods.

Sherwood, which charges a two-cent levy like Jacksonville, collected $39,509.47 in hamburger tax from 45 businesses in September, meaning people spent about $1.96 million on prepared food in September.

McDonald’s led in total sales in Jacksonville and Cabot, while Sonic was the top grosser in Sherwood.

In Jacksonville, the three McDonald’s restaurants sold more than $404,000 in prepared food in October.

The September figures show that the three McDonald’s facilities in Cabot sold more than $445,000 in prepared foods.
In Sherwood, the three Sonics brought in $5,106 in tax money on sales of $255,300.

The Sherwood McDonald’s brought in $144,900 from the sale of prepared foods in September.

Coming in a close second to the McDonald’s restaurants in Jacksonville is Chili’s Grill and Bar, bringing in about $346,000 in prepared-food sales in October. Western Sizzlin, based on the tax amount paid, brought in $172,000 in receipts, followed by Knight’s Super Food store at $150,000, Wendy’s at $145,000 and Taco Bell had $128,000 in prepared food sales in October.

In Cabot, closely behind Mc-Donald’s was Colton’s Steak House, with sales of about $141,500 for September followed by Kentucky Fried Chicken at $145,787, Taco Bell at $137,662, Sonic (on Hwy. 321) at $136,330, and the Dixie Café at $134,598 in September sales.

In Sherwood, Wendy’s came in third behind Sonic and McDonald’s with September sales at about $121,500 followed by Sam’s Club with $106,000 and Shotgun Dan’s with $103,400.

The hamburger tax in all three cities is used to fund advertising and promotion commissions which uses the money to support the cities’ parks and recreation departments, to market the cities and help fund various activities and events to help bring tourists into the area.