'Waiter, check please'

Americans eat out a lot - especially Texans and Californians. August is the biggest dining-out month. These are some of the findings as a strong US economy and busy lifestyles keeps restaurant sales rising. Other findings: Saturday is the most popular day to eat out; Monday is the least. In an average month, 78 percent of US households order some form of takeout food. Almost half of all adults (46 percent) were restaurant patrons on a typical day during 1997. Restaurant industry share of the food dollar is 44.3 percent. Restaurant operators anticipate a 2.8 percent increase in prices. And finding good workers will be the biggest challenge in 1999. Source: National Restaurant Association

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