Just a year ago, 25% of the country's highest-grossing restaurants were in Las Vegas—where diners ran up $15,000 checks and tipped waiters with wads of C-notes. But now restaurants are closing, new construction languishes half-finished, and more than 5,000 food industry workers have lost their jobs. "It was gold, and suddenly it became fool’s gold," one restaurateur tells the New York Times.
One Vegas chef observes that his casual restaurant has seen the average check drop from $70 to "in the $40s," while his pricier formal establishment has been shuttered. Many are anxious about the opening of CityCenter, the mammoth MGM development with no fewer than 30 restaurants, which may cut further into revenues. "Now, everyone is vying for a part of a shrinking pie," one chef tells the New York Times.