Recession Takes Big Bite Out of Restaurant Profits

The unappetizing economy is forcing many families to forgo dining out. Restaurant sales fell 13% in 2008 nationwide and Texas restaurants are only expecting modest growth for 2009. But, cooking classes and take-home gourmet businesses are experiencing record profits. On top of the fact that people have less money to spend these days, it's estimated that menu prices jumped 5% in 2008... Making it harder than ever for families to foot restaurant bills. We spent the afternoon at Super Suppers in Amarillo, a do-it yourself kitchen, where the ingredients are all laid out for you, waiting for you to put it together and take it home to cook in your own oven. Business there is booming... The owner, Mandy Ham, estimates it's increased by 38% in the last few months. The reason... Folks we spoke with says it's much cheaper than eating out, but more convenient than having to make food from scratch at home. Ham says, "It's become economically a really good thing for families. It gets them back to the dinner table, it saves them time. They're at the dinner table out eating, but eating at the dinner table at home is much different." We spoke with several people who all says the tough economy is forcing their families to cut back from eating at restaurants four or fives times a week to just once or twice a month.