In the past several weeks, the picture we've gotten of the restaurant industry hasn't exactly been a promising one. Dunkin' Donuts saw traffic slip at its U.S. locations in the latest quarter. Potbelly Sandwich Works said it expects to be challenged by a "more cautious consumer" in the near future. And McDonald's said its sales were hampered by a broad-based retreat from dining out.
Talk of a "restaurant recession" has been percolating on the internet after an investment bank analyst used the provocative phrase in a research note to describe where the dining industry -- and the overall economy -- might be headed. So, what's going on here? Here, we break down a few popular theories.. . . more