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Upscale chains are taking heavy hits

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From Nation’s Restaurant News’ Breaking news:

                                                  

NEW YORK (Aug. 7, 2009) High-end restaurant results are hitting new lows as slowed consumer spending and continuing budget cuts by corporate clients eat away at earnings.

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants Inc. and Morton’s Restaurant Group Inc. both said this week that lower traffic and resulting double-digit dips in same-store sales drove year-over-year declines in second quarter revenue and profit.

Though McCormick & Schmick’s of Portland, Ore., is known for seafood and Chicago-based Morton’s, for prime beef, the two high-end casual-dining operations shared some challenges in the latest quarter. Morton’s, operator of the Morton’s The Steakhouse chain, exhibited the greater struggle, however, as it reported this month a loss for the quarter and greater erosion in same-store sales. McCormick & Schmick’s was able to maintain a profit, albeit a much lower one than a year ago.

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The results followed last week’s report from high-end operator Ruth’s Chris Hospitality Group, which also included double-digit declines in sales and profit. 

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High-end seafood operator The Oceanaire Inc., which runs 12 locations of The Oceanaire Seafood Room, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early July and closed four locations. The sector has taken severe traffic hits not only from consumers that have tightened spending, but also from corporate clients that have cut back on travel and entertainment expenses.

Read the rest of the article here:

http://www.nrn.com/article.aspx?id=370874

This shows the challenges that restaurants are struggling with in this tight economic times. As you can see from some of my posts, there are restaurants that are responding to the challenge. And Morton’s, Ruth’s Criss and McCormick and Schmick’s are a top-flight operators that will find ways to regain profitability. However, it’s important for both restaurant workers and patrons alike to realize that we aren’t in Kansas anymore, Toto.

It’s not quite as bad as this though:

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