Take-out meals for free, courses for the dog, starters served as main course and sharing platters are just some of the promotions being used by American bars and restaurants.
Market analyst Peter Backman of Horizons said the American eat out market was suffering just like the UK, following a recent visit.
They are running promotions such as a two-for-one deal, where you eat one meal in and take another home.
Another is offering a "doggy bagel" for canine friends for $1. "Like the UK, the American eating-out market is suffering severely," said Horizons managing director Backman.
"Operators are being very clever with their offers and to keep people eating out. American consumers seem to be choosing more modest meals out in response to the recession, and perhaps also in a bid to eat more healthily.
"Feedback from US restaurant chains demonstrates that, as in the UK, eating out on a whim is no longer happening and the corporate expense account has gone into hibernation.
"Operators are reporting that some regions, particularly those where the automobile or finance sectors were once major employers, are suffering more acutely than others.
"But across the board there seem to be some major changes in the food being eaten in restaurants.
"For example, operators are moving their appetisers to become main courses, without changing the price, advertising 'pay less for the same great food."