My column in the Columbia Daily Tribune this Wednesday is about the food trends we’ll be talking about in 2009. One item concerns the advantages locally-owned restaurants enjoy over the chains by being able to quickly respond to changing customer spending habits. Imagine what it takes Applebee’s to respond to growing the growing frugality of its customers. A local mom and pop can just 86 the filet mignon, replacing it with a nice flank or hanger steak. That difference between a $28 menu item and one that goes for $18 may be the difference between life and death. That’s not to say chains don’t have enormous advantages of their own, just that here’s one working in the favor of the little guys.
In that vein, Ruby Tuesday’s is going to close 10% of their restaurants.