A tip to casual dining chains: Lose the discounts

|By:, SA News Editor

Casual dining chains lost close to 7.1M visitors between 2009 and 2013 as fast-casual superstars such as Panera Bread, Chipotle, Noodles, and Pei Wei stole traffic.

The response from the sector has been to push heavily on the promotional lever in a margin-biting gambit. The latest is a $10 all-you-can-eat appetizer price deal from the struggling TGI Friday's chain.

Restaurant Finance Monitor thinks the strategy is ill-fated, noting Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD +1.9%) and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (RRGB +0.5%) have done well by pushing the distinct experience of a visit to their restaurants - instead of hyping endless discounts.

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