Chainophobia

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salsailsa
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RE: Chainophobia 2006/05/18 18:49:30 (permalink)
I have a general rule of thumb when I eat out. If I can make the better dishes than a given restaurant, then I don't bother eating there. I'm quite a good cook and I dine out for the whole experience- good food, good atmosphere, socializing etc. I find that chain restaurants, or at least those that I have been exposed to clearly miss the mark when it comes to what I am seeking. There are a lot of independant restaurants that do too.

The lack of imagination in a lot of the chain restaurants combined with overpriced menu items/poor food value leads me to steer away from them. I grocery shop at a mixture of chain and independant stores depending on my needs.

There are some chains that are decent- The Keg locally is good but if I were in another centre with better steakhouses, I wouldn't eat at a Keg. I will drink in the bar at Earl's but I find there food just ok and if you factor in the price, I'd expect better, so I never eat there.

I'd sooner buy seafood from a supermarket and prep it than eat at Red Lobster. Bisquick biscuits with cheddar mixed in, brushed with garlic butter suffice for their cheddar bay biscuits.

Life's too short to eat bad food.
#31
BT
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RE: Chainophobia 2006/05/18 20:16:41 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Scorereader

I appreciated the history lesson Mr. Chips, having been on for less than a year.


I agree that we don't need to discuss places like McDonald's, BK , et. al, but some chains are regional, so one may not know the merits or lack there of for places like DC's Silver Diner. And the Sterns, who founded this whole thing, have several reviews of restaurants that are a part of a chain . . . .

if the Sterns can review an In-N-Out, Original Pancake House, Dairy Queen, Five Guys, and Steak-N-Shake AND Whole Food Markets why can't others at least talk about it without molestation?


They can and they should if they want to. There's even now a place to do it and no one can say it's out of order there. I wouldn't even put McD's out of bounds. Some of us find things to like there and McD's especially is reported to be changing enough that more likeable things could be coming. In the past, I posted in praise of the McD's $1 double cheeseburger (now $1.39 in SF--who says there's no inflation?).

Personally, I'm for free speech. The only thing I would put out of bounds is personal attacks, egregious profanity or other offensiveness for no obvious good reason. But we have moderators to make these decisions and they have NEVER said that discussion of chains was verboten.

So I say, "Discuss away" and I promise to help defend you, though I may also disagree with your opinion, if you are attacked for doing it. I hope some more of you will promise, at least to yourself, to speak up in such a case as well.




#32
Scorereader
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RE: Chainophobia 2006/05/18 20:36:31 (permalink)
thanks BT.
and, $1.39 double cheeseburger? Humph, so much for the dollar menu.



#33
TJ Jackson
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RE: Chainophobia 2006/05/18 20:44:19 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Scorereader

if the Sterns can review an In-N-Out, Original Pancake House, Dairy Queen, Five Guys, and Steak-N-Shake AND Whole Food Markets why can't others at least talk about it without molestation?


quote:
Originally posted by BT

They can and they should if they want to. There's even now a place to do it and no one can say it's out of order there.

Actually - and unfortunately - some of the most rabid chain-haters on here are known to go into the Fast Food Forum (I presume that's what you are referring to) and post derogatory remarks therein. Simply to deride the existence of the posts, it appears. One would think they would avoid said forum, but at times it seems they are drawn like a moth to candle to incite conflict
#34
pcdiva
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RE: Chainophobia 2006/05/18 21:10:13 (permalink)
I ate at Cracker Barrel when it was 1 restaurant in Tennessee, and have since eaten at other many locations all over the country, some great, some OK, some terrible. Every chain started as one restaurant somewhere. And people liked it and the business grew to the point where more locations were needed. So we've got to chill out on bashing each other and just try to steer folks to the gems and away from the gravel.

thus sayeth the diva speaking from her comfy chair
#35
BT
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RE: Chainophobia 2006/05/18 22:43:42 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by TJ Jackson


Actually - and unfortunately - some of the most rabid chain-haters on here are known to go into the Fast Food Forum (I presume that's what you are referring to) and post derogatory remarks therein. Simply to deride the existence of the posts, it appears. One would think they would avoid said forum, but at times it seems they are drawn like a moth to candle to incite conflict


So help me slap them down for doing that.
#36
John A
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RE: Chainophobia 2006/05/19 07:49:23 (permalink)

If the independents are good the locals will keep them in business. Daytona Beach is loaded with fast food & chain restaurants; there are still a lot of good independent places as well, large and small. IIRC the first "Chain" to standardize was Howard Johnson's. They made all of their restaurants and motels the same so travelers would know what to expect upon arrival, no surprises. Twenty-five years ago there was a HoJo’s motel & restaurant here, it’s gone, many of the nearby M&P motels & eateries are still here.

John
#37
BT
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RE: Chainophobia 2006/05/19 13:07:43 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by John A


If the independents are good the locals will keep them in business. Daytona Beach is loaded with fast food & chain restaurants; there are still a lot of good independent places as well, large and small.
John



In places like Daytona, that may be true, but in large cities it's not always. Here, chains have a big advantage--they can usually afford higher rents (especially the corporate-owned stores). Thus, when a landlord wants to raise the rent, he can often jack up the rent at lease-renewal time and find a chain who will pay the higher rate. It happens all the time. Until last winter, there was an independent coffee place in my building. Now it's a Peet's. I'm grateful it's not a Starbuck's. But in this situation, customer loyalty has nothing to do with what can happen.
#38
Tastytoo
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RE: Chainophobia 2006/06/01 16:08:36 (permalink)
I wonder if some negative responses to chains are a knee jerk reaction. I have read some posts where they state that they liked a place and didn't know it was a chain until someone else posted that it was a franchise or corporate establishment. Don't knock a place until you try it. I try to visit independent restaurants but I don't bash a chain unless I've been there and didn't like it.
#39
Scorereader
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RE: Chainophobia 2006/06/02 13:38:40 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Tedbear

What I stated (as Tricky did comprehend) was that most of the products sold at chain grocers are exactly the same as those sold by Mom & Pop's little corner grocery store. The prices may be different (and the service is undoubtedly different), but the merchandise is the same. I don't buy convenience foods, as they are a poor value, and the staple items that are available are identical from one store to another. That was my point in terms of differentiating from chain supermarkets and chain eating establishments.




actually, Tedbear, to continue flogging the dead horse, the staple items are exactly what's DIFFERENT at each grocery store. Convenience items are generally the same, just different types of the same Chi-Chi's salsa or kleenex tissues for example. The veggies, fruits, meats, poultry, fish, dairy and other raw ingredients is precisely what's different about grocery stores. Wegman's is a good example of that. Come East, go to a Wegman's and you'll see a HUGE difference between these items and the same items at Giant or Food Lion.

The mom and pop grocery store I grew up on, had the best butcher and baker in the area. And the seafood was tops too. As an example, they had lobsters brought in fresh everyday on trucks from Maine and Massachusettes in the summer. No frozen lobsters for us! And not every grocery store could say that. That's the difference I miss.

#40
tacchino
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RE: Chainophobia 2006/06/06 01:02:05 (permalink)
It is amazing how tastes can change, and perceptions too. My hometown, Ithaca, New York, for years never had any of these fast casual chains (and still lacks many of them). Fast food places like McDonald's and Burger King, yes, but none of the others. Ithaca has long had a tradition of small independent, good quality restaurants (some have been reviewed here on Roadfood), and given the size of the population, many chains were reluctant to move in.

You would not believe, however, the constant complaining from large numbers of people who would bemoan the fact that they would have to drive to other cities to eat at Red Lobster, Chilli's, etc. The excitement when Applebee's finally came to town not long ago was palpable...and it is still packed. There is a Chilli's there now, too, but still no Red Lobster, much to the chagrin of many!

So, even in an allegedly upscale, "gourmet" type of city, the pull of the chains is still incredible.
#41
Pat T Hat
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RE: Chainophobia 2006/06/06 02:13:59 (permalink)
I'll do chains in a pinch. Especially when I'm traveling and have to eat something and can't find anything else due to a time constraint. But for me it's simple. I try not to do business with any place (food or otherwise) thats on the stock exchange. That's a tall order and impossible these day's. It's down right impractical but then again so am I. Getting more so everyday(the tall order thing not me...well). If that makes me un-American so be it. I'll spend my dough with mom and pop every chance I get. I don't like what big business is doing to this country or for that matter the world. Unrealistic and naive, maybe, but I'm happy and content. Plus with the advertising gullibility that's out there they don't need me or my money. MA and PA down the road(food) sure do and that is my America! Food is a brutal business and the big boy's in any business play rough no matter how many cute and fuzzy critters or cartoons sell their stuff. In addition Ma Kettle most likely cares more about what goes in front of me (and in me) than Johnny Bad Tattoo does while he's trying to make time with Suzy Text Message. This is not a knock on tat's by the way, just bad ones guy's named Johnny may have. It is however a knock on text messaging and one gal named Suzy I know. While it is true I'm not alway's satisfied with diners, joints, grills, vendors, and tiny places off the beaten path. It's almost alway's an adventure to find them. Most folks that do this, do it because they love it(or because they got stuck with it in the will and don't know how to do anything else)not for money. Yeah, yeah there are some that do, but trust me, the money takes time and it hard to get there. Now introduce me to the guy who woke up one day and said "I don't care how much I make. I really want to make the same food day in and day out everyday with no creative input or say so just like all the other guy's (or gal's) who woke up one day and said...Well you get the picture. Introduce me to that guy (or gal) and I'll change my name to Johnny and get a new tattoo, just leave Suzy out of it !
#42
Scorereader
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RE: Chainophobia 2006/06/06 13:15:09 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by tacchino

It is amazing how tastes can change, and perceptions too. My hometown, Ithaca, New York, for years never had any of these fast casual chains (and still lacks many of them). Fast food places like McDonald's and Burger King, yes, but none of the others. Ithaca has long had a tradition of small independent, good quality restaurants (some have been reviewed here on Roadfood), and given the size of the population, many chains were reluctant to move in.

You would not believe, however, the constant complaining from large numbers of people who would bemoan the fact that they would have to drive to other cities to eat at Red Lobster, Chilli's, etc. The excitement when Applebee's finally came to town not long ago was palpable...and it is still packed. There is a Chilli's there now, too, but still no Red Lobster, much to the chagrin of many!

So, even in an allegedly upscale, "gourmet" type of city, the pull of the chains is still incredible.


that's definately ironic. One of my favorite reasons to visit Ithaca (aside from The Chapter house) is to go to all the independent restaurants (and hit a few wineries).

BTW, over memorial day I had my first Ithaca Beer Company beer (the Pale Ale). I liked it a lot.

#43
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