The usual pop from holiday parties proved more of a fizzle in 2008, capping a year that was hardly a blockbuster for restaurant group bookings. The reasons were obvious: Corporate customers scaled back, cancelled or skipped their annual functions as economic conditions worsened. What’s a restaurateur to do in an environment like that?Certainly not throw up his or her hands in surrender, as many did. Sure, the economy worked against the trade, but the situation underscores the notion that ...

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