LAS VEGAS -- The nose dive the Las Vegas has taken over the last few years continues to take it's toll on the restaurant industry. Many have been forced to close their doors while others are barely hanging on.
Senator John Ensign met with some local restaurant operators to get their take on what needs to be done to help these small businesses.
The good news is that some restaurants are seeing a slight uptick in business, but not everyone. High end restaurants have really been hurt in the economy. In fact, just a few days ago, acclaimed restaurant Alex at the Wynn closed.
One restaurant owner says elected officials need to figure out a way to fix this and help them.
"I've been in business for 35 years and this is the first time that I offer a bargain dinner -- three course meal with a ribeye steak for $45 at a place where you not only have white tablecloths and silverware, you have receptions, maitre d', bartender, waiter, bus boy, cooks for $45. Come on," said Andre Rochat chef and owner of Andre's & Alize.
Chef Rochat says in the last couple of years he has had to lay off about 30 people. He says after President Barack Obama made his negative remarks about conventions coming to Las Vegas, his restaurants, who depend on convention-goers, took a major hit.
On top of that, Rochat says city and state fees are too high. These are just a few of the concerns shared with Senator Ensign at a breakfast with the Nevada Restaurant Association. Senator Ensign also talked to the group about how healthcare reform would affect them
"We are encouraging people to get involved and contact their representatives. We are going to have votes in the House and the Senate over repealing the healthcare bill and most of the people in business believe this bill was bad for their businesses," he said.
Many small businesses worry the costs associated with the healthcare bill will pull them under. Ensign urged these business owners to stay engaged and make sure their representatives know exactly how the feel.
Another concern that kept coming up was over-regulation. Many restaurant owners feel the federal government is just too involved and could be scaring banks from lending out money.
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