President of the Aruba Food & Beverage Association

by Jan Van Nes

I read several posts on FB insinuating why restaurants can deliver a discount or the florin price for dollars (44% less) NOW for take-out and deliveries and could NOT before COVID-19! In the same breath suggesting those (abusive) restaurant owners should not raise the prices once restaurants fully open again. As President of the Aruba Food & Beverage Association but also as restaurant owner of 2 restaurants, I would like to shed some light on common restaurant practices and prices.

A rule of thumb at a restaurant is that the cost of food and beverage is usually 35%, labor cost 35%, with 20% for utilities, rent, advertising, accounting etc. leaving around 0-10% for profit. We make some money in high season and find ourselves lucky to break even in low season.

When we currently do take-out we have switched off most electrical appliances; we are not paying rent blessed as some are with a great landlord, we are not doing any advertising, and we are keeping all possible expenses to a minimum. The owners and a cook provide a handful take-out meals which provide for some bills to pay. Nothing major and the reason many restaurants do take out and deliveries is more for the restaurant not to be completely forgotten once we can open again.

In a few months we open and yet some will question why the restaurant owner could not stick to the price offered during Convid-19? Now he is paying rent again, switched on all his electrical appliances, is advertising, has more staff to cook and serve ….BUT was forced to reduce the tables by 50% due social distancing 1.5 m, ……AND is faced with 60% less sales at hotel occupancy somewhere around 30-40%!! So, don’t think the restaurant owners has returned to a rose garden and please do not call him/her abusive. Think twice next time you are thinking about this abusive restaurant because he may be closed next time you visit!

  • I look forward to returning to your beautiful country in Aug. And I most certainly am not/ will not complain about costs. The economic hardship must have been extensive for your island. I’m grateful, lucky to have the means to enjoy Aruba, and some extra tipping doesn’t hurt me and helps others.

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