Bethesda restaurateurs can stop dreaming that a forthcoming Hollywood epic to be the filmed in their midst will mean their dining rooms will be as crowded as this 1937 banquet photo. That nice man who visited you three weeks ago claiming to be a movie producer in need of detailed information about dining was not quite what be seemed he was a restaurant consultant hired by the competition to gather information about you. r

Last month Jack Sullivan, a San Francisco businessman who sometimes consults for restaurants, began visiting Bethesda and Friendship Heights eateries on behalf of an unidentified client who wanted to know why his restaurants were not as popular as his competitors'. In order to make a comparative study of the local market, Sullivan struck up conversations with managers and owners of the competition, who are normally closed-mouthed about their business. Sullivan's ploy: he said he was a location scout for a Los Angeles movie company and, by the way, could this restaurant serve dinner to 200 cast and crew members at a sitting? Sullivan -- a handsome and suave young man who attended Georgetown University's foreign service school in the late '60s -- said everyone was extremely coopertive.