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Are consumers losing their appetite for eating out?

Adele Cabot and her husband used to dine out three or four times a week, regularly spending $75 to $100 at a sushi bar sampling rainbow rolls and yellowtail nigiri sushi.

But that changed after Cabot, an adjunct professor of theater at UCLA, had to take a 6% salary cut. The couple now eat out half as much and frequent less expensive Mexican and Italian places.

"I just don't want to spend the money to eat out a lot," Cabot said.

With Thanksgiving this week and Christmas next month, restaurants are eager to win back customers such as Cabot who seemed to disappear amid a brutal summer for the nation's eateries. Restaurant owners are worried that tight corporate entertainment budgets, cash-conscious consumers and greater competition from price-cutting supermarkets will make for another dreary Christmas. Read more here:

-- Jerry Hirsch

Photo: Patina Restaurant Group founder Joachim Splichal, shown at his Nick & Stef's Steakhouse in downtown L.A., has been focusing on booking company parties, offering price breaks as inducements. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

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Blue Plate Oysterette, take heed! People want their money's worth. Not even the rich folks are into throwing their money away these days.

We went there for dinner last week and it was a brazen rip-off. All show and no substance, not even a breadstick to tide us over the long wait for our food. Those kind of places just aren't gonna make it any more.


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