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February 16, 2009

KFC have just announced that they plan to open 300 new restaurants and create 9000 new jobs in the next three to five years thanks to a £150 million investment. They are banking on the assumption that no matter how hard the credit crunch hits, people will always eat out. It’s just that they will trade their two courses and bottle of wine at a bistro for a bargain bucket of KFC. That’s good news for the fast food company but potentially catastrophic for the mid-market restaurant scene.

Restaurants close for all sorts of reasons but even the most optimistic can’t deny the effects of the current economic situation. Last week, the closure of a number of Antony Worral Thompson’s London restaurants made the headlines but there have been less high profile casualties north of the border. The Peat By The Bridge Restaurant in Inverness closed its doors last month as did Number Sixteen on Glasgow’s Byres Road.

Happily for restaurant fans who can’t work up much appetite for KFC, no matter how finger-lickin’ it may be, it is not all doom and gloom in eating out land. Times are tough but the smarter restaurants are making like Marines and heeding their motto of Improvise, Adapt and Overcome.

If you are reading this then you already know about the special offers 5pm gives access to. Diners can expect a lot more of the same over the next few months. In Edinburgh, Haldanes on Albany Street have launched a two course £10 lunch while Windows in Glasgow’s Carlton George Hotel is offering a one course lunch plus soft drink at £10.50.

Assuming that KFC isn’t on the menu, what are your tips for dining out on a budget?