Unappetizing Economy Forces More to Eat at Home

The economic recession is taking a big bite out of restaurant profits. Nationwide, sales fell nearly 13% last year. But, cooking classes and take-home gourmet businesses are busier than ever. We spent the afternoon at Super Suppers in Amarillo... It's a do-it yourself kitchen where the ingredients are pre-chopped and pre-measured... All you do is put it together and then cook it in your own oven at home. Folks we spoke with says it's cheaper than eating out and more convenient than making dinner from scratch."I'm making tomales with chiles." Andy Neeb is a regular at Super Suppers. His family of five used to eat out four or five times a week, but now, "maybe two or three times a month." The unappetizing economy has forced him to make some cutbacks.. Which is why he makes most of his family's food here, at Super Suppers. "Our food cost is probably half." Andy is not the only one making the switch from restaurant patron to chef. Owner Mandy Ham says, "Since summer I would say more traffic of people coming in has gone up 38%." That's the largest increase Mandy has seen since Super Suppers opened three years ago. "They turn themselves in. It's like okay we're here. We can't eat out anymore. It's too expensive or that can only be a luxury. It can't be an every night thing." One group of people who are discovering unknown kitchen skills... Divorced dads. Mandy Ham says more of them than ever before are coming in with their kids on the weekends. Here's some food for thought... Full service restaurants like Outback Steakhouse and Denny's saw a drop in earnings for 2008, but fast food giant McDonald's saw an 80% increase.