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SHORT ORDERS

Dining for dollars
(News about restaurants and restaurant people throughout the Niagara Frontier)
A lot of people will be celebrating as this year ends, but the restaurant industry folks may be the happiest yet. According to the recent 2000 Restaurant Industry Forecast put out by the National Restaurant Association (interestingly referred to as the NRA), 2000 will mark the ninth straight year of real sales growth. Total national industry sales next year will are projected to reach $376.2 billion.
Dining out has become an integral part of American life, it seems. More than 45 percent of today's food dollar is spent away from home, and it's estimated almost half of the adults in this country visit a restaurant on a typical day.
A few other points mentioned in the forecast do not exactly set us dancing in the aisles. One interesting if unpleasant prediction is that menu prices are expected to rise at a growing rate.
Another is the use of cell phones in restaurants is growing. The association's research reveals 42 percent of all customers who own a cell phone have actually made or received a call while dining. But the NRA also reports roughly one-fifth of all restaurants with per-person dinner checks in excess of $25 report they've instigated policies about the use of phones in their dining rooms. And more are expected to do so shortly.
A vote for optimism
An article that appeared in the nationally published Cuisine Magazine in April 1983 and written by the late Bert Greene talks about Buffalo area restaurants. He calls Buffalo "worth a detour," and cites five places to eat: The Hour Glass, Rue Franklin West, Schimschack's, Ming Teh and the Anchor Bar. The interesting thing is that Cuisine Mag is now defunct but the restaurants are still very much with us 17 years later. "The good ones last," writes attorney Arnold Gardner, who passed the info on to us. Remember that the next time you hear a doom-and-gloom local restaurant story.
Correction
Walter from Truffles restaurant on Kenmore Avenue called to say we had the wrong phone number for his restaurant in the year-end review that published in Gusto last week. The number is 877-1111. Sorry, Walter.
If you have news of the local restaurant world, we want to know about it. Write to us at Restaurants, The Buffalo News, Buffalo, N.Y., 14240 or e-mail jokun@buffnews.com-- Janice Okun

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