Restaurants to Obama: Dine Out Around Washington More Often

The president of the restaurant association thinks Obama is helping business.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

Be it a $7 burger from Ray's Hell Burgers in Arlington, Va., or a $300 date night at the posh Michel Richard Citronelle in Georgetown, President Obama isn't just revitalizing Washington's restaurant scene. He seems to be helping the nation's eateries. "As we all look for ways to improve the economy and create jobs, we thank you for your recent restaurant visits and encourage you to continue enjoying time at one of our almost one million restaurants across the country," Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, penned in a letter to Obama. Seems she thinks that more presidential trips could spark better business during the economic downturn, and she's calling on Obama and his team to eat out more often. Already Obama has dined off the White House campus more than former President Bush did, and expectations are that he and Michelle Obamaand the vice president, too—will continue to grab bites around town. Here's Sweeney's letter:

May 7, 2009
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of the National Restaurant Association—which represents an industry of nearly one million restaurant establishments in the United States—we want to thank you for dining out!

During these challenging economic times, your recent and highly visible visits to restaurants with the Vice President and your family are exactly the type of activities that help convey the important role of restaurants in the economy and the importance of all of us doing our part to help support a revitalized economy.

By dining out, you have helped support some of the 13 million Americans that depend on our industry for their livelihood. Each time we dine out with our co-workers, friends or family we help support the servers, cooks, host and hostesses, managers, busboys, suppliers and countless others who work in and depend on this industry. When Americans dine out, they our backing an industry that has a $1.5 trillion impact on our economy. For every dollar spent in a restaurant, more than two dollars are generated in supporting industries. In fact, the restaurant industry is larger than the U.S. agricultural industry, the U.S. airline industry and the U.S. motion picture industry combined.

Beyond the economic impact of our industry, we also provide a benefit for the countless Americans who have been working harder and longer and need a break from the hectic pace of life to spend quality time with family and friends. As the commander-in-chief, a father of two and a husband, you know firsthand the rewards of time together with your family. Dining out over a good meal allows for an opportunity to relax, catch up and focus on family and friends.

Simply put, dining out benefits millions of Americans.

As we all look for ways to improve the economy and create jobs, we thank you for your recent restaurant visits and encourage you to continue enjoying time at one of our almost one million restaurants across the country.

Sincerely,
Dawn Sweeney
President and Chief Executive Officer
National Restaurant Association

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