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Bad Economic News Hits Restaurants Hard

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Dec 10, 2008 8:15PM

Hopleaf%2BSign.JPGThings are tough all over, even for folks in the restaurant industry. An uncertain short-term future and a still-frozen credit market is forcing lenders and restaurateurs to make tough decisions. Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises is among a handful of restaurant companies profiled in the Wall Street Journal today on the state of the industry. LEYE has eliminated some positions, slowed hiring mangers for some of their 75 properties and is rotating other managers to multiple restaurants to cover those openings. Bartenders and waitstaff are also taking home less in tips as customers begin to budget their nights out.

On a more localized scale, Crain's reports (via) that Hopleaf owner Michael Roper's plan to buy the shuttered La Donna space next door to his Andersonville pub fell through when the bank Roper was hoping would finance the deal backed out days before he was to close on the space. The move cost Roper $100K in earnest money he put down for the deal, but he said he'll continue working to secure the space and expand.