The pancake trade-down is in play

The cheaper fare at Denny's (DENN +11%) and IHOP (NYSE:DIN) has kept the two restaurants chains moving in the right direction this year as other family dining and fine dining chains suffer traffic setbacks and margin crunches.

Analysts tie the steady performance of the two chains to low-income and middle-income families tightening their dine-out budgets.

IHOP has put in 5 straight quarters of positive same-store sales growth, while Denny's has posted a comp gain in 12 of the last 13 quarters in sector where negative to flat comp growth is the norm.

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