Customers visited restaurant chains more often at the end of 2011, even as menu prices rose — an indication of improved consumer confidence, according to The Bellwether Food Group Inc. In reporting on fourth-quarter same-store sales at restaurant chains, the Topsfield, Mass.-based industry research firm noted that traffic increased at the same time that top-performing chains took price increases. For example, Olive Garden raised menu prices by 2.1 percent and saw a 1.7-percent ...

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