With the economic boom of the late 1990s, California's restaurant industry flourished as Golden Staters left their kitchens more often to enjoy the good life dining out. But what's in store for the industry now as the economy slows to a halt and eating out becomes less appealing to belt-tightening consumers? Add to that skyrocketing overhead due to the energy crunch and increased competition, and restaurateurs these days have much more on their minds than which lettuce to use in their salads. Those concerns will be considered Tuesday as hundreds of restaurant owners and investors gather for the fifth annual California Restaurant Industry Conference in Century City. Steven Mayer, publisher of Restaurants and Institutions trade magazine, will offer an industry overview and forecast. Breakout sessions will delve into issues such as overcoming challenges in today's market, managing financial operations and recruiting and keeping a quality staff. The daylong conference at the St. Regis Los Angeles begins at 7:30 a.m. Contact the UCLA Extension Hospitality & Food Service Management office at (310) 206-4271.