Shaky economy creates fewer customers and tips at local restaurants - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Shaky economy creates fewer customers and tips at local restaurants

Eating out is becoming more of a luxury these days, as people deal with the uncertain economy.
While many people are saving their pennies, restaurants throughout the metro area are feeling .

For a lot of people, eating out has become a luxury.  A luxury they're finding harder and harder to afford.  When you drive around Metro Louisville, you see how consumer decisions are affecting a lot of restaurants.

There will always be plenty of good places to eat in Metro Louisville, but spending habits are changing dramatically.  Jean Scott, who is on a budget says, "I just can't afford $25 or whatever for a meal." The same for Keith Owens and his family, visiting from Indianapolis.  Owens says, "We're definitely eating out less. We don't have the money for gas, money to drive out."

While many people are being a bit more frugal, a lot of Louisville restaurants are hurting some just can't make it in this economy.  There use to be lines at sweet peas on Frankfort avenue, now the only thing piling up is the mail they're closed.

A year ago, Frank's Steak house on Shelbyville Road was doing well, but no more.  In Jeffersontown, Ferd Grisanti restaurant won't be serving signature italian dishes this summer.  Mike Cunha, Limestone Restaurant says, "You hate to see your peers not able to make it in the environment that we are in, and yeah it's a little bit alarming."

At Lmestone, just off Hurstbourne, they're feeling the pinch as well.  Cunha says, "Some folks who do come in aren't spending the same way they spend, and when people come in they still have a great time, but we don't see the same traffic flow, we've seen in the past."

Cuna says he has to tighten his belt a little.  Sometimes you don't replace a staff member, and sometimes the management staff will have to work a little harder, putting in extra hours.  Many restaurant owners say business is down 30 percent compared to this time last year.

A year ago, the Owens family would dine out. "At least three times a week and now it's down to one time a week, if we're lucky." Owens says.

The summer months are the toughest times of the year for many of the restaurants.  Expect more to be added to the list, as the economy continues to struggle.

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