Eat, drink, and spend money: Restaurants ply diners with cheap booze


Facing its steepest revenue decline in 28 years, the restaurant industry has decided to appeal to its customers' baser instincts. Offering more and cheaper drink specials, extended happy hours, and all-you-can-drink promotions, eateries from Chili's to Morton's are moving to pull in customers with deals that often seem too good to be true.

Conventional wisdom holds that sin stocks -- alcohol, tobacco, and gambling -- are recession-proof: that financial downturns lead consumers to drown their woes in a cocktail of stimulants, depressants, and other distractions. The truth is far more complex: sin stocks are resistant to economic downturns, but not immune. Consumers may drink more in hard times -- but they try to drink on the cheap.