The $558 billion restaurant industry is hitting rough times, squeezed by many of the same woes affecting other sectors of the economy: tightfisted consumers, scarce credit and surging commodity prices. Adding to the pressure is a big jump in the minimum wage starting this summer, which will boost wages by 12% in some states. That's sent the industry into its worst slump in decades. Many chains have scaled back expansion plans or cut costs by skimping on things like extra sauce and free sour cream. Some are shuttering sites and laying off workers.__________ Also from WSJ: Beer blogging at Miller. __________ London's smallest pub is for sale. Just in case you're looking for a business opportunity.
The area around Marylebone station has an air of forgotten London, and that's certainly the feel you get here. Staff chat away to customers old and new alike, and an easy going atmosphere permeates and if the landlord's on form you'll hear the whole, tragic story of his life and the pub. The jukebox might seem a tad incongruous, but there's some space outside if you need to escape the music.Looks like a neat little place. Quite frankly, I can't think of a worst job than owning a bar (alright, sex slave for aging female patron, mime, and prison counselor might be worse). I'd enjoy taking inventory, dealing with shipments, talking with patrons during the afternoon hours. Rushing around during happy hour could be enjoyable. But come 11:00 or later, when the drunks start raging? Then announcing "closing time" and being treated like you're the grim reaper coming for his prey? I couldn't hack it. __________ This writer has a decided leftist slant. I also admit that the whole concept has a snobbish ring to it. But nonetheless, I think he's onto something: Pairing books with beers. He touts "Three Philosophers," which is a very good beer. __________ Beer picture of the week:
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