Restaurant Sales Lagging

CNN Money reports that restaurants are being hard hit by the recession:

NEW YORK (Associated Press) – Shopping up an appetite? Restaurants, which have been hit hard by the economic downturn, certainly hope so.

To entice shoppers, chains are increasing their advertising during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, offering freebies to customers who take a break from the stores and giving discounts to anyone who buys a gift card from the restaurant.

Denny’s Corp., for example, is offering a $5 gift card to the restaurant if you purchase $25 worth of cards. The company also advertised its current value promotions during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the National Football League games the same day and several college football rivalry games over the weekend to bring in more customers.

“We really are trying to hit the family and the gatherings to remind people that Denny’s is an incredible value,” said Chief Executive Nelson Marchioli, adding that the chains _ like all restaurant chains these days _ will be “under a lot of pressure” to boost sales during the holiday season.

“Every restaurant company is going to be pressed this year for providing value and dealing with what very well could be less customers,” he said.

Are restauarants truly a value? As we have argued, restaurants are expensive and should be “treats” as opposed to a habit. You can save hundreds of dollars per month cooking at home. True, those in the restaurant business will suffer by slowing sales, but you have to do what is good for you, and in most cases that is eating in as opposed to out.

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