Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Chain Restaurants Take a Hit

As someone who has grown up in and worked only for my family's independent restaurant, I am obviously a bit biased towards the independent. Also, it should be noted that I've grown up in a small town with many family-owned independent restaurants that do a great job as well. So, yes chain restaurants will not quite crack my top 10 list.

This past week was not a great week for the aforementioned "chains." First, there was a story from the NRA that saw the town of Eastchester, N.Y. amend its zoning regulations to "ban restaurants with 15 or more locations, a stand-up counter or menus on the wall." Which, actually is something that other communities have done in the past decade, but many more proposals like this are beginning to pop up across the country.

The reason? Many communities that are dependent upon tourism are beginning to find things more financially lucrative if that money goes to independent local businesses as opposed to chain stores. Good news for local independents, but obviously strongly opposed by the chain operations for "hindering consumer choice."

Next there was a story out of the Jersey Shore, reported by MSN Money, that saw 29 restaurants busted for serving generic liquor out of bottles with premium names while charging the premium price. Specifics were not listed in the report, but essentially these places are/were serving Skol Vodka for Grey Goose or Philadelphia Whiskey for Jack Daniels as examples. Of the 29 restaurants that were caught using this illegal practice, 13 of them were TGI Friday's locations. The list also included an Applebee's, a Ruby Tuesday's and yes.......independent restaurants as well.

While, you may not think much of the story and pass it off as only a problem in the Jersey Shore, I would imagine that if this was common practice at one chain location, that it's more than likely common practice at a large majority of others. This certainly won't do much for my personal stigma of chain locations. While the consumer still has their choice of where to dine, I'll stick with putting my faith in those local independents that I know and trust.

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