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Florida restaurants are starving for business

BRADENTON — A struggling economy paired with rising unemployment and higher food prices has created a "perfect storm" for restaurateurs.

More than 30 restaurants have closed in the last year in Manatee and Sarasota counties, according to food industry sources. More will fail during the area's tourist "slow season" in late summer and early autumn, they predicted.

The number is probably correct, but there have also been many new restaurant openings, noted Bob Bartz, president of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce. Bob Kirscher, president of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association's Sarasota chapter, agreed 30 seemed a reasonable estimate.

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