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Diners split meals to save money

Restaurants offer promotions to keep people coming back

Posted: March 6, 2009 12:59 a.m.
Updated: March 6, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Sue Leibsker, of Canyon Country, said at a recent dinner outing that all the members of her party split a meal.

"You're helping your body and your financial situation," she said. "I think that's really helping people see they can still have a satisfying, healthy meal."

According to industry data service Knapp-Track, which collects monthly sales data from more than 10,000 sit-down restaurants or sales at stores open at least a year, for sit-down chains dropped an estimated 4.1 percent in January from the same month a year earlier.

But not all diners are cutting back completely.

Restaurants say they are seeing more and more customers who are using the split-meal tactic to slice their eating-out budget.

"We're definitely seeing more people split items and we're seeing people maybe drink one glass of wine instead of two," said General Manager Jean Ricks of Valencia's Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Company.

The restaurant has gone to extra measures to provide promotions as a response to "dropped numbers in the last few months," she said.

"Anytime we have any kind of promo where people get a discount we definitely see an increase in business," Ricks said.

Ronda Johnson, of Canyon Country, said her family has cut back on restaurant dining from about twice a week to once a month.

They also try to split meals when they can.

"Unless you're really starving, then you can't share," said Ronda's 6-year-old daughter Carleigh Johnson.


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