Certainly you don’t need to be told how tough it is out there in restaurant land. By many accounts, making ends meet hasn’t been this difficult in decades. In the wake of soaring oil prices and a government program to make ethanol from crops, the cost of basic ingredients—rice, eggs, flour, cheese—has gone through the roof. And the idea of raising prices for many is too freakin’ scary, so they’re pulling ingredients out of dishes, reducing portions, cutting staff. On the consumer side, this ...

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