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Empty Tables Threaten Some Restaurant Chains

From Andrew Martin of The New York Times: The proliferation of casual sit-down competitors, like Dallas BBQ has taken away some customers, and the recession is dissuading others. Now consumers are cutting back, and dining out is among the casualties. Finer restaurant chains have been hit hard, and so have the casual sit-down places that flooded suburban shopping centers and tourist districts across the country, aimed straight at middle American tastes. A few chains have boarded up already. Many others are going into survival mode, trying to renegotiate their loans, cutting staff, offering bargains to customers and closing less profitable restaurants. Analysts predict thousands more restaurants could close in the next year or two. 

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