Profits Going Down Without Smoke

Jan 26, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Restaurant owners in states across the country are concerned that smoking bans may keep patrons away and bring revenues and profits down.

Last March, an ordinance in Dallas began prohibiting smoking in restaurants, bowling alleys, bingo halls and in hotels.

Tracey Evers, executive director of the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association, said the smoking ban has been bad for business.

“Since Dallas has passed its ordinance, bingo operators indicate they have lost more than $1.2 million from lost or cancelled meetings and banquets, and hotels have lost up to $1.2 million in banquet and convention business.”

In Bethesda, Maryland, the general manager of the Austin Grill, Joseph Miller, said the ban there has reduced bar revenues in the 15 to 20 percent range.

Others, such as Barbara Frush, a Maryland state delegate, see it differently. She points to similar laws being passed in Delaware and New York and says, “Like Henny Penny, the sky has not fallen.”

Moderator’s Comment: Are smoking bans bad for the restaurant and bar business? Is there a middle ground to make both sides of this dispute happy?

Joseph Miller of the Austin Grill told the Baltimore Business Journal he and other restaurants and bars in Maryland were considering building separate heated
patios for patrons who smoke.

On April 1, in Austin, Texas, an ordinance will go into effect that requires restaurants to have separate ventilation systems for smoking and non-smoking

Anderson – Moderator

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