Nation’s Restaurant News: Casual Dining Chains Fighting to Make a Comeback
Nation’s Restaurant News: Casual Dining Chains Fighting to Make a Comeback

Casual dining chains are fighting for survival as they try to reverse traffic declines.

For many consumers, the notion of sitting down for dinner at a restaurant is disappearing.

According to Nation’s Restaurant News, overall industry same-store sales have fallen hard in 2016. In July, sales fell 1.4 percent. But traffic, the single best predictor of restaurant performance, fell 3.9 percent—the worst performance for that index since 2013. But these declining numbers are nothing new. In fact, since 2008, traffic has fallen by an average of three percent a year.

The problems afflicting casual dining are many. The concepts are older and tired. The prices are high. And consumers have been cutting back on costly dining-out occasions. All of these elements are having a real impact: Since November, five casual-dining operators filed for federal bankruptcy protection, three of them for the second or third time. Many of these filings have also come with closures.

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