|Data Doesn't Seem to Support Theory that Flower Mound Restaurants Suffered from Ban|
Poster: WhosPlayin Posted: 2012/6/20 1:08:25
Flower Mound instituted a ban on smoking in its restaurants effective January 1, 2010.
According to the Texas Comptroller, in 2009, there were taxable sales of $72,947,305 for the NAICS category of "Accomodation/Food Services". In 2010, taxable sales were $76,228,411, an increase of $3,281,106 (4.5%) over the last year in which smoking was allowed in restaurants. Further, there were 144 establishments listed at the end of 2009, increased to 157 at the end of 2010.
By contrast, Lewisville in 2009 had $183,603,803 in taxable sales in this category. In 2010, Lewisville grew to $187,233,381, an increase of $3,629,578 (2.0%). The number of outlets in Lewisville was 329 at the end of 2009, increasing to 338 at the end of 2010. Flower Mound's growth that year was more than double Lewisville's. If as some suggest, Flower Mound lost a bunch of business as smokers fled for cities like Lewisville where they could smoke, then one would expect to see Lewisville's sales figures make a substantial jump. But they didn't.
The Census had estimated Lewisville's population in 2009 at 105,170, and Flower Mound at 70,202. Actual census figures for 2010 were 95,290 for Lewisville, and 64,669 for Flower Mound. Because the population estimates varied so widely, close to 10% overstated in 2009, it is hard to estimate what effect population growth may have had on sales, or if there was any population growth. But the bottom line was that businesses seemed to bring in more revenue.
What is interesting to note is that the number of establishments fluctuates throughout the course of a year, with the first quarter generally 5 - 10% lower than the last quarter of the previous year. Over the course of the year, it tends to climb back up to the previous number or higher. This did not hold true from 2007 to 2008, (economic crash) when the numbers of establishments dropped, but the sales figures actually showed slight growth. If you take the total yearly sales figures for Flower Mound, and divide by the number of establishments at year's end, (which is at best an estimation without longitudinal data on individual establishments) you come up with a $506,578 average taxable revenue per establishment in 2009, but $485,531 in 2010, an average drop of $21,047 per establishment, or 4.2%. But it is hard to know whether that is just low-volume newcomers diluting the average.
What I would say from looking at these numbers is that they are not definitive as to whether restaurants and bars specifically saw increased or decreased sales as a result of Flower Mound's ordinance change. But they do not seem to indicate a severe decrease in sales or conversely a huge upswing in sales.
Anecdotally, we'll have folks tell about the handful of restaurants they visit on occasion, and whether it felt more empty or more full, or whether their favorite haunt closed down or suffered, but those observations are very susceptible to confirmation bias, and the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.
What I would like to see is more granular sales data in terms of NAICS classification. I would also like to see specifically alcohol sales data (which is longitudinal), but I'm unwilling to spend the money to subscribe to one of those data services. If one of our readers wants to chip in on that, we might be able to dig a little further. I'm thinking $100 ought to get us that information, but maybe someone has a line on how to get it cheaper?