US Restaurant Business Toughest In 17 Years

11/19/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

U.S. restaurants are enduring their toughest time in 17 years as tight credit and falling home prices compel consumers to eat out less or spend less when they do, a National Restaurant Association economist said on Wednesday.

"This is the most challenging environment for restaurant operators since 1991," Hudson Riehle, NRA chief economist, told Reuters. "Depending on how consumer spending proceeds in the fourth quarter, it could be the most challenging environment since the early 1980s."

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