(Washington, DC) National Restaurant Association President and CEO Dawn Sweeney sent the following letter to personal finance expert Suze Orman today:

Dear Ms. Orman,

We are reaching out to you given comments you made on a recent appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” where you advised viewers to save money by not eating in restaurants for one month. After receiving numerous calls from individuals who voiced concern about your appearance, we wanted to share some facts about dining out that you will hopefully find helpful when providing your money saving tips.

Even in today’s struggling economy, restaurants are major providers of jobs and careers, employing 13 million individuals in 945,000 restaurant-and-foodservice outlets nationwide. Not only do restaurants provide jobs for millions of people in this country, they also have a tremendous impact on the nation’s economy. Every dollar spent in restaurants generates an additional two dollars in sales for other industries in the economy, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Today’s restaurants are the second largest private sector employer in the United States. If the roughly seven million viewers of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” did not patronize restaurants for a month, the economic impact would be enormous for thousands of Americans who work in the industry.

Nearly 53,000 jobs would be lost.

The total loss in household earnings would reach nearly $1.3 billion.

The total economic loss to the economy would be nearly $4.8 billion.

To cope with the economic downturn, many restaurants are offering specials and promotions that make dining out even more affordable than ever before. Even though restaurants are struggling with rising food and commodity costs, they are working hard not to pass on the cost increases to customers. In fact, menu price growth was running three percentage points below grocery store price growth during much of 2008.

During this difficult economic period, we hope you will not encourage action that could cost jobs and hurt some of the very recession-pinched Americans that you seek to help.


Dawn Sweeney
President and CEO
National Restaurant Association


The National Restaurant Association, founded in 1919, is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which is comprised of 945,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a work force of 13 million employees – making it the cornerstone of the economy, career opportunities and community involvement. Along with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the Association works to represent, educate and promote the rapidly growing industry. For more information, visit our Web site at www.restaurant.org.

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