Behind the Kitchen Door, 2/5/09 - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Behind the Kitchen Door, 2/5/09

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It's lunchtime in Sherman and every restaurant and fast food joint is packed. While most people are tightening their belts, trying to save money, Texans are loosening their's.

"We eat out a couple nights a week," said Kailyn, a student at Austin College. "We should be [cutting back], but we're not."

Coast to coast 68% of restaurant owners reported a drop in dinners for this past December. That's the biggest drop on record.

A few North Texas eateries have closed their doors and figures show the economy is the number one concern on the minds of restaurant owners.

"We've seen a slowdown but not like other businesses," said Rob Medders, owner of Sherman's Chick-fil-A.

Texas restaurant sales are projected to increase by 4% in 2009 - more than any other state. A trend Chick-fil-A can understand. They still serve between 4,000 to 5,000 people a day.

"I think the main indicator is people have it built into their lifestyle to eat out. Mom's don't have time or want to cook so they come through here," added Medders.

Economists point to the resiliant Texas economy, an increase in the number of places serving alcohol and the fact that families, where mom and dad are bothing working, eat out more. Research also didn't overlook a key ingredient to profits: Texans like to eat.

"I just have fun," said Anette Walker, a Sherman diner. "I like go eat. Just because I'm skinny doesn't mean I dont like to eat a lot."

Behind the Kitchen Door, Katy Blakey, KTEN News