Restaurants Adapt Consumer Appeals to Recession

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Orlando, Florida-Buffet-style dining, virtually written off as an aging concept during the high-flying '90s, is making something of a comeback as the economy has cooled. The market leader in buffet dining, Golden Corral, surpassed $1 billion in systemwide sales in 2001. The company's top grossing unit nationwide, located in Orlando, Florida, broke its previous sales record despite the slowdown after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

As consumers look for bargains and old-fashioned comfort food in stressful times, buffets seem to fit the bill. With the average per-person check below $8 at Golden Corral, buffet dining is priced close enough to fast-food dining that the sector has held up in recent months despite the recession.

CiCi's Pizza is also taking part in the buffet resurgence, offering customers all-you-can-eat pizza, pasta, salad and dessert for $3.99. -Nation's Restaurant News

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