Restaurants to gain pricing power in 2011

Analyst expects chains to pass menu price increases to consumers

As commodity prices rose through 2010, restaurant operators kept one eye on increasing costs and the other on the tight grip that recession-battered consumers kept on their wallets. Now they may be able to at least blink.

Restaurants may begin increasing menu prices next year without the fear of losing customers accustomed to deals and discounts, according to a recent report from Jeff Omohundro, a senior securities analyst at Wells Fargo Securities.

He based the “increased

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