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Chicken, Burgers, Hot Dogs and Discounts Fill the Menu

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RhvhARsIyQ If the recession really has bottomed out, as some analysts would like us all to believe, and consumers are sliding back toward their old spending habits, why are burger chains still discounting like this?

Jack in the Box yesterday rolled out its Really Big Chicken Sandwich Combo. For $3.99—still below the times-are-tough $4 price ceiling—customers get a double decker chicken sandwich with bacon, cheese, lettuce and tomato plus seasoned curly fries and a soft drink. It’s a deal.

But wait. For that $4, Checkers/Rally’s offers not 1 but 2 of its new Bacon Champ Burgers. Choose from Pepper Bacon, Maple Bacon or spicy Firecracker Bacon burgers. Check the commercial here.

And Sonic’s willing to go still lower. Just as we reported last month, Sonic has added a new Foot-Long, Quarter-Pound Coney hot dog for $2.99. It’s part of the chain’s “focus on what we have that the other guys don’t” marketing strategy, as is clear from the TV commercial (at right).

The marketplace is going to improve eventually, but the problem now seems to be a lack of confidence by operators, not consumers.

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