Among the essential financial concepts that should be part of your toolkit as a hospitality business owner, the break-even point stands out. A solid grasp of this critical metric empowers you to make informed choices, set achievable objectives, and secure the long-term sustainability of your establishment.


    What is a break-even point?

    The break-even point is the threshold of sales at which your business covers all its costs, resulting in neither profit nor loss. In other words, it’s the point where your total revenue equals your total expenses. Beyond the break-even point, any revenue earned contributes to your profit margin, making it a pivotal milestone for any hospitality business.


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    Why every hospitality business owner should care about the break-even point

    There are 4 key benefits that come from an awareness of your break-even point:

    • Financial Stability: Knowing your break-even point is crucial for financial stability. It provides a clear picture of how much revenue you need to generate just to cover your costs, allowing you to plan and budget effectively.
    • Decision-Making: Understanding your break-even point can help you make informed decisions about pricing, marketing, and expansion. You can assess the impact of changes in various aspects of your business and determine whether they will push you closer to or farther from profitability.
    • Goal Setting: Setting financial goals becomes much more meaningful when you know your break-even point. It helps you set achievable targets for revenue, which, when met, will result in profitability.
    • Risk Management: By understanding your break-even point, you can identify potential risks and take steps to mitigate them. What circumstances could lead to a dip below the break-even point?


    How to calculate a break-even point

    Calculating your break-even point calls for a few vital pieces of information:

    • Fixed Costs: These are expenses that remain constant regardless of your sales volume, such as rent, insurance, and fixed salaries.
    • Variable Costs: These are expenses that fluctuate with your sales volume, like food and drink costs and variable staff wages.

    Note: Figures should always be treated Net of VAT if your business is VAT registered.

    Several methods can be used to calculate the break-even point, depending on the data at hand. Here are two of the many methods that can be used:


    Option 1:

    BEP (£) = (Fixed Costs x Sales Revenue) / (Sales Revenue – Variable Costs)

    This calculation can be based on historical figures or forecasted data. Both provide valuable benchmarks for future performance.


    Option 2:

    BEP (£) = (Daily operating costs) / (% Margin on Food and Drink)

    This method relies on your menu prices, product cost data, and projected expenses, making this a quick way to calculate the break-even point if you have your margin percentages readily available.

    Both above calculations can be performed for daily, weekly, monthly, or annual break-even points.

    Xero provides an Excel template to calculate your BEP, you can also create a report for this metric in Xero.


    How to use the break-even point

    • Pricing Strategy: Adjust your pricing strategy to ensure that your selling prices exceed your direct/variable costs. This way, you’ll start making a profit once you exceed the break-even point.
    • Cost Control: Keep a close eye on both fixed and variable costs. Reducing unnecessary expenses can lower your break-even point and improve profitability
    • Sales Goals: Set realistic sales goals that go beyond your break-even point. Achieving these goals will result in profitability.
    • Scenario Analysis: Use your break-even analysis to explore different scenarios. For example, consider how changes in prices or costs would impact your break-even point and overall profitability.


    In Conclusion

    Understanding the break-even point is essential for the financial health and sustainability of your hospitality business. By calculating and utilizing this metric, you can make informed decisions, set meaningful goals, and navigate the challenges of the ever-evolving hospitality industry. Keep in mind that the break-even point is not a static number; it can change over time as your costs and pricing strategies evolve, so regularly revisiting your calculations is crucial for success in the long run.








    This information is subject to change and is not professional advice. Refer to our disclaimer for more details.

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