Restaurants: Success at 4

To many, the lowly cafeteria is a symbol of soup-line shabbiness. So what happens when it is spruced up with classy decor, white-jacketed waiters and tasty food? In the case of Mobile-based Morrison Incorporated, the resulting high costs hold profits to a thinly sliced 40¢ a meal. Naturally, the company has to compensate for that with volume. One of the nation's fastest-growing cafeteria chains, with 57 branches in seven Southeastern states (and six more due to open this year), Morrison's serves up 2,000,000 meals a month, has tripled annual sales over the past dozen years to $47,284,000.

To explain Morrison's...

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