During what’s become a three-year segmentwide sales slump, casual-dining operators have tried just about everything to spur sales, from discounts and bundled meals to two-for-ones and freebies. To keep the lights on, many also have cut operational fat, muscle and, some would swear, even bone.But if there’s an upside to the ongoing downturn, it’s that it’s now forcing casual operators to think longer-term, with many reconsidering and redefining their businesses. In short, many say they are ...

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