Yes, the recession has brought most of the U.S. economy to its knees. But the pricing bubble for soft drinks at the restaurant level lives on, helping many operators keep afloat. Paradoxically, even though value-seeking customers aggressively demand bargains when they make their food choices, they remain willing to bear whatever price a restaurant charges for soft drinks. That’s why, percentage-wise, soft drinks are the highest-margin items on most foodservice menus today. But beware: New ...

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