As the Empire Center attracts hungry customers wanting more dining
options, Burbank has benefited with a 7.5% growth in restaurant sales
taxes, according to recent city figures.
“All the other areas in the city [with a high concentration of
restaurants] have stabled off and aren’t growing,” Burbank Financial
Service Director Derek Hanway said. “It’s the Empire Center that is
making the push right now.”
The 1% Burbank accumulates from the 8.25% sales tax in California
brought in $558,000 in the most recent figures, Hanway said. Those
figures were based on a year-to-year comparison of the third fiscal
quarter, which ended Sept. 20, because it takes up to six months to
assess the data, he said. In comparison, 2001’s third quarter was
“About every time a new place or restaurant opens up, there is a
boost in sales that usually levels out in a year,” he said. “These
are new places that everyone wants to go to.”
Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Hometown Buffet, Panda Express
and others at the center, which opened less than two years ago, make
up 10% of the city’s restaurants. Burbank Economic Development
Manager Yvette Ulloa said the center, like the Burbank Village, is an
“ecosystem” that caters to shopping, dining and entertainment all in
close proximity to many of its customers’ workplaces.
Patrons from outside city limits also frequent the center.
“We attract people from the San Fernando Valley to the San
Gabriel Valley because we have one of the only cities that has a
restaurant row with such great variety,” Ulloa said.
Ranking above the state and county tax averages, the city’s
increase in restaurant tax revenue is no comparison to the amount of
taxes produced by sales of general consumer goods, better known as
“One quarter of general consumer-goods sales is larger than
restaurant sales for the whole year,” Hanway said.
He also said because the city anticipated the potential restaurant
sales before the center opened and adjusted the city budget
accordingly, the extra tax revenue will provide scant relief from
expected state cuts.