Research – Estimated Cost to a Restaurant – Foodborne Illness Outbreak

Sage Pub

We estimated that the cost of a single foodborne illness outbreak ranged from $3968 to $1.9 million for a fast-food restaurant, $6330 to $2.1 million for a fast-casual restaurant, $8030 to $2.2 million for a casual-dining restaurant, and $8273 to $2.6 million for a fine-dining restaurant, varying from a 5-person outbreak, with no lost revenue, lawsuits, legal fees, or fines, to a 250-person outbreak, with high lost revenue (100 meals lost per illness), and a high amount of lawsuits and legal fees ($1 656 569) and fines ($100 000). This cost amounts to 10% to 5790% of a restaurant’s annual marketing costs and 0.3% to 101% of annual profits and revenue. The biggest cost drivers were lawsuits and legal fees, outbreak size, and lost revenue. Pathogen type affected the cost by a maximum of $337 000, the difference between a Bacillus cereus outbreak (least costly) and a listeria outbreak (most costly).

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