Restaurant discounts and special offers have returned after a recent sales cool-down at some of the nation’s hottest chains, a trend that threatens to squeeze industry profits at a time when food costs are set to rise.
U.S. consumers ate fewer Big Macs at McDonald’s Corp., skipped some caffeine runs to Starbucks Corp. and passed on the occasional burrito at Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. — sending a shiver through the investment community that has grown used to those chains posting strong growth in the face of the nation’s lackluster economic recovery.
McDonald’s on Wednesday vowed to focus more on value after reporting flat sales at established restaurants around the world in July — its worst showing in more than nine years.
Starbucks and Chipotle’s industry-leading same-restaurant sales growth decelerated last quarter, forcing both chains to make adjustments to reinforce their positions.
Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/chi-discounts-back-after-summer-restaurant-slump-20120810,0,212577.story