How bad are things when people can't even afford a Big Mac? This week, the world's largest hamburger chain said same-store sales dropped 0.6 percent in November, the second consecutive monthly decline. (The news comes less than a week after Yum! Brands, parent of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, projected weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter numbers.) Good luck to McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner, who promised investors "a disciplined pricing strategy," even as he released the disappointing numbers. Competitors like Burger King are offering a new double cheeseburger for $1, and Dunkin' Donuts has a new 99-cent menu. Taco Bell, which last month settled a lawsuit filed by rapper 50 Cent over appropriating his persona to push its tacos and burritos, has been out there already with items priced less than $1. So much for the fast-food sector, one of the few bright spots in the economy this year.
—Posted by Noreen O'Leary