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In the last five years, a lot more people have been telling waiters, "tap water will be fine." During the downturn, American consumers have ordered 2.7 billion more servings of tap water since 2006 and restaurants have doled out 2.7 billion less servings of soda, coffee, iced tea and anything else that does not come from a kitchen sink, according to market research firm NDP Group who published the report, Beverages at Foodservice: Satisfying Our Thirst for Beverages. But before we start championing tap water's success, the Los Angeles Times reminds us, "Out of the 50 billion beverages currently served at restaurants, water accounts for just 8 percent while carbonated soft drinks and brewed coffee command 49 percent." So 2.7 billion glasses of water are just a drop in the nation's beverage bucket.

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