National unemployment at a five-year high, struggling financial markets, a severe credit crunch—times are tight right now for restaurants that also are dealing with high labor, energy and food costs. It’s also a tough time to be an employee in an industry experiencing layoffs, bankruptcies and closures. Even veteran recruiter Edward Savage III, founder of Stanton Chase International, a Los Angeles-based executive-recruiting firm, said he wouldn’t advise people to pursue restaurant careers ...

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