As national players in the bar-and-grill segment struggle with dipping sales, several of the sector’s high-volume regional chains out of Southern California are intensifying national expansion efforts. BJ’s Restaurants Inc., whose 57 casual-dining outlets feature Chicago-style pizza and craft-brewed beer, last month opened its first Eastern branches, in Florida and Ohio. Analysts predict that the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based chain could grow into a system of 300 to 400 ...

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