Tough Times Are Ahead For The Casual Sector

Most economic industry forecasts in January predicted a solid year ahead. But as I write this column in late August, the sweet spot of the restaurant industry is experiencing its worst slump since 1991. How quickly things can change.

Some of the biggest casual sector players, such as Applebee's, are reporting sharp declines in same-store sales. The casual segment has been sideswiped by rising gasoline prices and a host of other economic pressures. As a result, consumers just don't hav

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