An article in last week’s Forbes magazine listed as one of the top-grossing restaurants nationwide —with earnings of $18.7 million annually — and had more than a few Novato residents thinking “is that right or is that a typo?”
In Forbes' Aug. 6 edition, Rickey’s came in seventh behind restaurants such as The Grill on Main on Martha’s Vineyard, grossing $23.5 million a year, and Sparks Steak House in New York, which tops $23 million in annual revenue.
One Novato resident, Alice Baldridge, found the number so preposterous, she decided to get on the phone to fact-check with Forbes and find out how they came up with such an incredible dollar figure.
She got a voice message from a Forbes research editor who referred her to CHD Expert, a food service database company out of Chicago, as the source of the revenue numbers. Adding to the mystery, the research editor said that the revenue figures did not include alcohol — it was strictly food sales.
On a mission, Baldridge called CHD Expert and said the guy she spoke to was hesitant to talk about the data but admitted to Baldridge that the company had received a few calls questioning the revenue amounts for Rickey’s and some of the other restaurants on the list, as well.
Baldridge said that it’s going to be tough to believe what she reads in Forbes from now on.
Rickey’s co-owner, John Marshall, said he received a call from Forbes requesting a photo of the restaurant but he was never told the revenue figure that was going to be published and doesn't know where they got that number. "Typo, a case of mistaken identity, bad journalism, who knows," wrote Marshall in an e-mail.
He estimates a restaurant would have to do 2,000 meals a day for a year to hit that revenue amount.
Without revealing the actual revenue of Rickey’s, Marshall said the article contains some inaccurate information but that his restaurant is known for its amazing food and service, not its revenue. Marshall adds that the notoriety of the mention in Forbes is appreciated.
The accuracy in the single-sentence Forbes blurb is that guests can enjoy dinner and jazz next to the pool during the summer.
To be fair, at the bottom of the article, a CHD Expert disclaimer states that the revenue amounts are only estimates from 2011.