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Sit-down restaurants add more deals

Chains compete with lower prices

By Teresa Mears Sep 14, 2009 3:23PM

As consumers eat out less, competition is getting fierce among the sit-down casual restaurant chains, which have been offering deals and discounts in the hope of luring more customers.

 

While the deep discounts haven't made franchise owners happy, they are providing more opportunities for diners to eat out for less.

 

Here's a rundown of some current promotions:

  • Applebee's: This casual chain was one of the first to come out with a deal, and that deal remains in effect: two entrées and an appetizer for $20. The restaurant also is offering combo lunch deals for $5.99.
  • Cheesecake Factory: Known for its huge portions, the Cheesecake Factory has unveiled 16 small plate selections for $3.95 to $6.50. Those include stuffed mushrooms, onion rings, pizzetes, tuna tartare and shrimp scampi crostini.
  • Chili's is offering 10 smaller-size entrees for $7. The chain is also one-upping Applebee's with its three courses for $20 promotion, including an appetizer, two entrees and a dessert for $20.
  • Outback Steakhouse: The steak restaurant is offering 15 of its meals for under $15, including a six-ounce sirloin with salad and baked potato for $9.95.
  • Ruby Tuesday has published a number of buy one, get one free entrée coupons in local newspapers. The coupons are also sent via e-mail to members of its So Connected Club.
  • T.G.I. Friday's: You also get coupons for free food by joining the Give Me More Stripes club. The Right Portion, Right Price menu offers smaller meals for $6.99 to $9.99. The restaurant has offered a number of buy-one-get-one-free coupons this year, but none is currently in effect.

Because most chain restaurants are owned by individual franchisees, all deals may not be good in all restaurants. If you don't see a deal on the menu you've seen advertised, it pays to ask. According to the New York Times, some unhappy franchise owners have hidden the fliers advertising discount meals.

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