While veteran foodservice operators in the Mid-Atlantic states acknowledge that they are in a recession of almost unparalleled size and scope, many are taking forward-looking actions that they hope will help them emerge from the economic turmoil stronger than before. “This is an era-changing event,” says Zane Tankel, chairman and chief executive of Apple-Metro Inc., the Harrison, N.Y.-based Applebee’s franchisee. “But we also see this as an opportunity to grow.” ...

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