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What is a "chain"?

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by ken2v, Jun 19, 2013.

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  1. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Does it come from menu standardization?

    Does it begin at outlet x opening up?

    Is calling something a chain automatically hanging a negative connotation on it or are their chain merchants out there who excel despite the numbers?
     
  2. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    Hmm... I use the word "consistency", but "menu standardization" works for me. I dunno if a certain number of locations/units is applicable, cause some good operators open-up and run multiple facilities in a regional proximity and I don't know that necessarily makes it a chain? And... yes... it appears after reading many, many posts on this issue, calling an establishment to be part of a "chain" has a negative connotation to a great many of you... but not to me.

    I went out yesterday with a co-worker to celebrate a few milestones at work... we both LOVE burgers... we chose 5-Guys, which opened in our area 8 months ago or so. Upon our first bite of double-bacon-cheesburgers, both of us simultaneously said, "f*&k that's good"! At that moment, I do not recall having had a better burger, but I know 50 people can and might post, "oh that's nothin', there's a little place in "blah, blah, blah" that has way better burgers and it's NOT a chain." To me, if the food's good and the service on point for the price I'm paying, that's all that matters. I could care less if there's a 5 units or 500!

    I've had GREAT food at chains and OUTSTANDING food in many, many locally-owned restaurants. Being part of a chain/franchise makes no difference to me.
     
  3. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Back in January we went to our first Five Guys in Tampa and I say that is a pretty tasty burger and those fries are delicious! :thumbsup:

    Hope they don't open up one around here! I'd be there way too often. In & Out, not that impressed.

    We don't dine very much at "chain" restaurants, but we did hit TGI Fridays quite a bit when we lived in Vegas and Suncoast had the senior special for movies.

    We also enjoy Bravo Cucina if it happens to be on the way.

    For the most part, we stick to local, family owned places, but I'm certainly not critical of people who like Pizza Hut, Micky D's, Papa John's etc. We have a local chain of sub shops called Cousins and I love their Italian sub, I just try to avoid them for health reasons. Otherwise, I'd be there once a week.
     
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  4. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    I usually consider something a chain if they have multiple locations in multiple cities.

    So five stores in five different cities I would consider a chain, but five stores in one city I would just consider a restaurant with multiple locations.

    To some people chains are a negative, or maybe more so they want it to appear that they are "above" having to patronize a chain... its kind of like the Walmart paradox: everybody hates Walmart, nobody admits to shopping there, yet they somehow manage over $400 Billion in sales each year.
     
  5. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    I'm not anti-chain. I'm against mediocre food, and I do not give points for consistency or familiarity if it is simply consistently or familiarly mediocre.

    I also see vacation as a time to experience and experiment (and I live in a small town with no chains above the fast-food level). I'm really not at all curious as to how a Big Mac might differ in Sri Lanka, I'd rather eat the local fare. And in a place like Vegas, where there is, say, Table 34 I'm not choosing Cheesecake Factory.

    If I was of the food is simply fuel persuasion, I'd think differently.
     
  6. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    Five Guys is in Brookfield Square and at Bayshore in the Milwaukee area...
     
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  7. VegasBJ

    VegasBJ VIP Whale

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    What is a chain?

    I think a chain is something that you lock your bicycle up with :evillaugh
     
  8. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Oh crap!!!!!!!!!!!
     
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  9. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    I'll try pretty much everything once. (yes, this is why I've eaten mutton ear in central asia:ssst:) That said, especially when I travel, I want to explore things that I can only find in that place. That is what makes travel fun for me. Doesn't have to be a fancy restaurant. Usually, I prefer NOT a fancy place - and I love making a meal out of local market products or street food.

    I guess I'm pretty anti-food chains. And to me, the same menu and/or food products across multiple restaurants makes it a chain to me. Celebrity chefs who own multiple restaurants, but where each place has its own exec chef and different menus are not "chains" to me. Now, I might not eat at those places either but my reasons would be different:evillaugh
     
  10. dmr

    dmr Registered Abuser

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    A chain is one of those oh-so-formulaic restaurants which have standardized everything from location to location.

    Some of them can give a pleasant meal, but lack individuality and creativity.
     
  11. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks this. I like Smashburger even more than Five Guys (except for cajun fries from Five Guys...mmm). And mjames is right, Five Guys are around most of the Midwest now.
     
  12. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

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    I prefer to support local / individually owned businesses to corporate chains. You can get good/bad at both, but it takes a lot for a local business to survive all of the regulations and other overhead which a chain can better overcome due to economies of scale. Small independent businesses typically offer better service and goods or they will quickly go out of business. You'll also get a better "insert food type" at a good local joint over a homogenized chain offering.

    In Vegas, I'll take 777 over TGIF, Chicago Joe's over Olive Garden, Baby Cakes over IHOP, etc.. Beyond a few trips to In N Out and a couple 5AM-6AM nothing else is open drinking food runs, I avoid chains in Vegas and everywhere else, when possible (exceptions - middle of nowhere interstate/ business meetings).

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  13. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    I feel I should clarify my post... my point was not to proclaim 5 Guys to be the world's best burger (though it was pretty damn good yesterday), but rather to illustrate that, in my opinion, a superior product (albeit a burger) can be had at a "chain"... and that "chain" doesn't always equal "mediocre".

    And then, as I'm reading the paper... this pops-up:

    http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/may/21/budget-burger-challenge-which-finest-vegas/#axzz2Wgso3Ncn

    though it's from May... be sure to click on the link within the article to some pictures that'll make your mouth water!
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013
  14. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    I was in montreal last friday and saw a 5 guys restaurant. I went in but it kind of looked "dirty" and there was a line so I didn't order.

    As for the "chains", doesn't matter to me since I have the option to visit or walk on by. I did eat at a KFC in london since I was in a rush. It is interesting what they serve you though and the chicken tasted a little dry (no mash potatoes, they gave out fries). In Europe many of the Mcd's have McCafe's for their "higher" end faire, guess that's why they are doing it in america now. with the higher prices in Europe for their regular menu I didn't even bother getting something from the McCafes.
     
  15. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    On the supporting local businesses side of the ledger, many franchisees are local folks just trying to make a buck and run a business.

    There are three Bouchon Bistros. Chain?

    There are four Bourbon Steaks (and one Stripsteak). Chain?

    There are five Mon Ami Gabis. Chain?

    There are gobs of Ruth's Chrises and Olive Gardens. Chains?
     
  16. Suekel

    Suekel VIP Whale

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    For me, I care a lot less about how many locations a place has or whether they are a "chain", than I do about whether their food is locally sourced, prepared freshly each day, and with creative twists vs. shipped in frozen from Sysco, loaded with sodium, always the same. Places like Applebees, Red Lobster (sorry Beeejay!!:cry: ) and Olive Garden fall in the latter category for me. Ruth's Chris may be a chain, but I think they are on a whole other level from a culinary standpoint.
     
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  17. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

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    Yes, but franchises must cover their nut, including substantial (and in many cases failure inducing) monthly tribute payments to their corporate overlords.

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  18. bardolator

    bardolator Lifelong Low Roller

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    Ruth's Chris and Olive Garden, although quite different, are both definitely chains.

    I do not favor limiting the term to restaurant groups with nearly identical menus from store to store, or to places with branches in different cities, or to places that serve mediocre food. However, there will be a consistent philosophy and probably consistent procedural rules within a chain. Food and equipment may be sourced substantially the same, also.

    A guy I know runs a nice Italian restaurant and a hot dog stand here in Akron. Not a chain. There are five restaurants in the Prawnbroker group in Fort Myers/Sanibel. One is an informal grill, one has an Italian theme, one is clubby looking, and two are just nice fish houses. Menus vary. The four I have visited have the same philosophy about food and follow similar procedures. Food is probably sourced the same. Chain. (Several more in the group have opened on Florida's east coast. I haven't been to them.)

    In a certain sense, one could say that if five restaurants have the same owner, it's a chain, so judging that way the French Laundry is part of a chain.
     
  19. dmr

    dmr Registered Abuser

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    No chain, no matter what scale, can do a burger better than a well-run local independent bar, grill, or diner with great talent in the kitchen!
     
  20. schwaiguy

    schwaiguy Low-Roller

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    What if Gordon Ramsey chains his burger place? I bet it would be far superior to any burger in my town.
     
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