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Do you consider chain restaurants when going out to dinner?

Yes!, It's a restaurant.
68 (52.7%)
I just want to eat.
8 (6.2%)
I would rather eat somewhere else.
43 (33.3%)
I work hard for my money and want a true dining experience.
10 (7.8%)

Total Members Voted: 128

Author Topic: Going out for dinner  (Read 14305 times)

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Re: Going out for dinner
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2012, 03:23:55 AM »
I don't go out much to eat at all due to money/diet/time restrictions.

there are pros and cons to each, and not all the chains are the same in terms of quality and ambience - if I am traveling, I will tend to go to a chain because there is some degree of comfort in knowing what i'm getting. at the same time - it's fun to be adventurous. in my own city - it's becoming harder and harder to find a place that *isnt'* a chain (other than a corner felafel store; and even some of those have turned into mini-chains).

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Re: Going out for dinner
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2012, 03:39:50 AM »
We don't have as many chain restaurants here but when I was living in the States I only went to the chain places when someone else chose the restaurant.  In the town where I lived there were only 3 non-chain places (but 5 McDonalds) so not lots of choice.  Luckily the food at those three was good so I was happy to alternate between them.


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Re: Going out for dinner
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2012, 06:30:37 AM »
I like to support local businesses including restaurants. Also for me local is safer because they tend to know their food better. So my preference tends to be

Local Chains (Though I much more likely to go to the "real/original" location for example the Spaghetti Warehouse needs to be in a haunted Warehouse not a new building on 59.)

Sit down Chains

avoid fast food unless it is 2 am and Whataburger is the only place open in the one horse town we are traveling through.
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Re: Going out for dinner
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2012, 08:31:14 AM »
I used to have a job that involved traveling and then I would take the immediate people I worked with to lunch.  I always asked, "What is your favorite non-chain restaurant for lunch?"  Then we would go there.  I went to some great places that way. 


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Re: Going out for dinner
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2012, 08:41:41 AM »
I never go to chain restaurants. Never. Money is too precious to waste on plain dining out. I can make better things at home so when I do choose to dine out I want a real experience along with food I am unlikely (or unable) to make at home. I'd rather have quality over quantity.

I love reading the different ways people think here! It's so funny because I'm the complete opposite - if I go out to eat, it's going to be at a local diner. There really isn't much around here for a quality experience, but the local greasy spoons have great food for cheap. I never ever go out to eat at expensive places. If I have extra money, I go the other route and make a really nice dinner at home with ingredients that I usually don't buy because they're too expensive. Bonus points if I bring home something that will last (like expensive olive oil).


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Re: Going out for dinner
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2012, 08:55:42 AM »
The only non-chains in our area are Mexican food and very pricey downtown hotspots. It's frustrating and annoying.

There's a city a couple hours away that has any restaurant you could imagine, and they're all local, non-chains. There's Greek, vegetarian, Italian, steak, pizza, sandwiches, Thai, much variety. I love going there and supporting all the local businesses.
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Re: Going out for dinner
« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2012, 09:14:16 AM »
I live in an area blessed with many genuinely authentic "hole in the wall" ethnic restaurants, where you can get an amazing ang generous meal for a very reasonable price. Also, there are a number of more "mainstream" little one-off places (diners, etc) where I can expect to be recognized even before I sit down and be treated very well. Here, we're so mixed that any ethnicity is really just one of the crowd. I even seem to get "you want your regular table?" treatment at one of the numerous local Ethiopian places.

My budget does not allow "high end" dining choices, and I would not feel comfortable - and, yes, in this area it is possible to dine at the $200-per-person level or even more.

Who needs to be treated like an anonymous customer by an anonymous server, and offered a menu designed by a giant corporation?

THAT SAID, my wife talked me into TGI Friday's last week, just for a change, on an off afternoon at an off hour. I did find the food adequate, but what impressed me the most was the gracious welcome (the host even "parked" my walker for me) and the very pleasant service.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2012, 09:16:09 AM by magician5 »
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Re: Going out for dinner
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2012, 10:56:18 AM »
VorGuy *likes* knowing what to expect in the way of menu items - we moved to Georgia and he *loved* Sonny's BBQ (NASA sent some into space for the astronauts - it is GOOD stuff - done Southern style with a red tomato based sauce and cooked until tender).  We don't have one near our house in Houston - but we go to Florida on vacation about once a year (time share) or to see our DD, DSIL, and DGS in Georgia - so we can get Sonny's if we want to. 

He also likes the seasonings of certain steak chains - and avoids other chains because they "do it wrong".  When traveling, he likes to get something to eat at a McDonald's or Arby's - but wants to eat it in the car (not me - if I'm driving, I stop & eat so I'm not distracted).  He wants to get where he's going - not "enjoy the trip".   His quirk, not mine.

But we go to a lot of chains because he knows what to expect.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2012, 10:57:59 AM by VorFemme »
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Re: Going out for dinner
« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2012, 11:30:33 AM »
Chains don't bother me a bit. But I don't eat out a whole lot, so going to an Olive Garden or a TGIF's is a dining experience for me. :)

We have a lot of both (chains and single-owned) in our area so it all depends on what the group is hungry for.


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Re: Going out for dinner
« Reply #24 on: November 11, 2012, 11:33:03 AM »
I'm not above eating at chain restaurants. Some of them are really good!


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Re: Going out for dinner
« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2012, 12:12:07 PM »
Chains don't bother me a bit. But I don't eat out a whole lot, so going to an Olive Garden or a TGIF's is a dining experience for me. :)

This right here.
Not that there is either an Olive Garden or TGIF's within a hundred miles of here  :(

Plus, sometimes the non-chain local restaurants are FANtastic, but due to not having a written or trained standard, go in there on an "off" day and you will regret it.
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Re: Going out for dinner
« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2012, 12:14:25 PM »
There's a halfway decent chance that that consistent, standardized menu won't have anything I'm willing to eat on it. I avoid them.

So we lean toward non-chains, but not necessarily fancy places, more often coffee shops, falafel shops, Thai restaurants or 24-hour eateries, but also fancier places on occasion. It seems like any place that does well around here and serves budget-friendly food becomes a "local chain" (2-15 locations, in-town or statewide) before long, and we don't necessarily avoid those, but they aren't our favorites.

I have been known to run out to Subway, Taco Cabana or even Taco Bell once in a while on a too-brief lunch break or on the road for a very brief stopover in a tiny town. We have eaten at Pei Wei, Chipotle and Freebirds in the last year, but otherwise I don't think we've gone to a national chain.

The 'sit-down' chains are last on my list, or maybe slightly ahead of local places I've gotten sick at.

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Re: Going out for dinner
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2012, 12:28:12 PM »
I'm totally fine with eating at chains.  I like knowing what's on the menu, and I like knowing that I can ask for a menu item without a particular ingredient, and not have to worry about insulting a chef who envisioned the item.  Then too, sometimes a chain is the only place that has what I want, at a price I can afford.  For example, I love salmon.  I'm not very confident in my ability to cook salmon correctly though.  Since I live in a landlocked state, I'd rather be able to go to Red Lobster every month or so and get my salmon fix, then save up for months at a time to go to a high end, high priced seafood restaurant. 


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Re: Going out for dinner
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2012, 12:36:10 PM »
I live next to a large city that has no identity, except a reputation for frumpiness.  Despite this, it has many fabulous non chain restaurants and some great local chains, too.  The independent restaurants tend toward expensive, require reservations, and are not near our house so we don't go to them very often unless we have a special occasion and plan ahead.  Some of the best of these are continental, Italian, seafood and steakhouses. Some of the local chains (pizza and barbecue) have offerings that rival anything I've ever gotten in an independent restaurant.  Our favorite Mexican place used to be part of a chain but broke off from it. 

Whether a restaurant is a chain or not doesn't  factor in to my decision about eating out.  I just don't care.  There are quite a few chains I really like and some you would have to pay me to patronize but the same can be said for independents.  Being locally owned is no guaranty of quality and some of the worst restaurant experiences I've ever had have been in "local favorites."

Sara Crewe

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Re: Going out for dinner
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2012, 01:57:10 PM »
I like chain restaurants in a new area because generally you can be sure what you are getting.  The food may not be brilliant, but with a non-chain, while you may get wonderful food, it may also be awful and there is no way of knowing in advance.  In addition, with a chain, you can generally look up prices online which I find reassuring.

If visiting someone I'd be delighted to go to their non-chain recommendation, of course.