Re:the chains take a hit
Applebee's problem? Normally, a burger, fries, and drink (alcohol) at any other place would run you $7-10. You'll pay at least $12-15 at Applebee's. In that Times Square location? Good luck escaping for under $20.
I liked that they mentioned Dallas BBQ. In the three years of being in NYC, DBBQ has gotten a lot of my money...even the Times Square location. It's certainly not for the service or comfort, though. Less than $20 there will get you so much more than any of the other sit-down chains in NYC (and even some that aren't chains) and kind of "exposes" the shenanigans the brand-familiar stores exploit just because of the location.
It's hard to mourn for these chains. Seldom, if ever, do they blame themselves or their product for their plight. It's always some other circumstance: too much competition, shifting economy, public taste/perception (Atkins, anyone?), or location. Everyone gets thrown under the bus before themselves. Just once I'd love to hear an owner, CEO, or President rip into himself or the investors for bad direction, or confess that the mark-up in price with a downgrade in product quality wasn't entirely necessary, or that nobody's listening to R&D. It's not ennobling, just honest.