Chain restaurants

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by czacza, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 11, 2014

    I RARELY go to a national chain restaurant when I go out to eat. I prefer to frequent locally owned, fresh food, kinds of places....sure I'll hit a Panera or Chipoltle for lunch once a week (actually less than once a week) with colleagues during the school year but I patronize smaller food establishments on my own time. Maybe it's a function of where I live...NYC metro area. We tend to be a bit foodie. Tons of restaurants...most with waiting lines on weekends...even in the suburbs. My faves right now are a local Mediterranean place (picture sharing hummus, kebabs, fresh fish and salads), a local Italian place with handmade pastas, and a restaurant that changes its menu seasonally.....just not going to get that, or the personalized service, in a chain. :2cents:

    What are your dining out habits?
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Currently, IF we eat out as a family, it's Chik-Fil-A, Cracker Barrel, IHOP, or a local Mexican place. My kids are 5 and 19 months and haven't yet mastered the ability to sit at a table for more than 30-45 minutes. We prefer family friendly places (and we go early)! If I'm going to spend a lot of money eating out, I want to be able to enjoy my meal, not entertain young children, so we only go to nicer places if we don't have the children.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Yay, Agda! You are teaching your kids how to dine out by taking them out to eat!
     
  5. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    I try to do the same thing. Like you, I actively try to find well-run, small-business competitors in the competitive restaurant game. I do frequent chains that I really like (e.g. Chipotle), but I try to look beyond price/location factors when I can (the thing I don't overlook is quick, customer service).

    To me, there is something about being a patron of a local Italian joint, rather than the same Macaroni Grill you can go to in Los Angeles, Kansas City, or Austin.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    We tend to go to the chains because that's what is in my neighborhood. I live in a very large city, so we do have quite a mix of chains and locally-owned restaurants. The biggest problem is that a lot of the locally-owned places are very expensive, celebrity-chef type places. The last time we went to one of those places was about a month ago. Most of the menu items were small plates costing $30-50. There was an item on the menu that was $2,500. :eek: We ended up spending around $200 on our meal, which is too expensive for us to do more than very rarely (although definitely worthwhile when we do).
     
  7. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    I have the incredible privilege of living in the Hamptons right now, so DH and I take full advantage of that.

    But that's not to say that we don't make the occasional 2 AM McDonalds run... :lol:
     
  8. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    If we are dining in, we almost always go to a locally owned place, but on the rare occasions we get take out, it's from a chain. We don't eat out/get take out more than two or three times a month, unless we're on a trip.
     
  9. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    We probably only eat out 2 or 3 times per month. I never go out for lunch when I'm at school, I bring my lunch every day. Some of my coworkers order out a few times per month but I just prefer to save my money and eat my healthier home made lunch.

    When we do go out to eat as a family I'd say it's 50/50 chain vs local. Kids like Chili's, Panera and California Pizza Kitchen so we do hit those. I prefer a local Mexican place to Chipotle (similar idea - quick Mexican built to order) so we rarely go to Chipotle. I do love the Melting Pot and that's a chain. I like local because that's what we do for Thai, Chinese and Indian which are my favorite foods to get when eating out.
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    So now I'm thinking it's geography and kids....there tend not to be kids in restaurants I frequent and if there are I ask to be seated elsewhere....
     
  11. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    We eat local for seafood and Mexican but tend to make quick runs to Sonic or Subway. I will not eat Italian in a restaurant. Real Italian food has a very thin red gravy and most places have a thick gravy. I teach in a town that is very small so there are really only local places. Usually I bring lunch but about twice a month, one of the local restaurants will feed us (all have students in our school).
     
  12. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    We try to eat local whenever we can. Some of my favorite chains are Panera, Smashburger, Twisted Root (small chain) and that's about it. I tend to frequent places that have a veggie burger option that is good, because my husband loves burgers, and I try no to eat red meat.
     
  13. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    My town is smallish - there's maybe 15 restaurants total, and most restaurants are chains.

    We eat out maybe once or twice a month. We prefer local places over chains - and we're very willing to drive one, two, three towns away to find them :)
     
  14. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I live in one of the 3 hearts of my city & there are tons of eateries, restaurants, & fast food places all around of many cuisines...enough to eat at a different place daily for months. However, practically all of them are chains...common & more unique ones. It doesn't matter to me, but it would be nice to have a couple more mom & pop outfits too. I get takeout quite a bit & I like trying new places!
     
  15. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I don't eat out much. Very small town. We don't gave many choices. I'll eat out with friends when we go shopping. Most of the time I cook.
     
  16. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    When the kids were younger we did mostly chain type restaurants that served fast. I prefer local restaurants, but my daughter's favorite is usually Applebees, sometimes Chilis. DS prefers Olive Garden, I do admit I love their salad.
     
  17. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    We live in a smallish west texas town. We have a couple of the regular fast food places, like McD's, DQ, Sonic, KFC, Burger King, and we do have a Pizza Hut The rest of our eating places are family owned. Some are great, some not so great. We have not sit down national chain places. We did have an IHOP but it closed and reopened as a family owned place. I do miss some places like Chilis and Olive Garden. We do drive over to where they are at about once a month and we eat out there.
     
  18. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    We go to a lot of local places. I live right in the city, so there are tons and tons of options within just a few minutes.

    There are some chains I do enjoy. Cheesecake Factory is one I like. I love Chipotle.
     
  19. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I guess this is an unpopular opinion, but I love chains. :blush: I like the predictability. For me, the exception would be ethnic foods, especially Chinese and Mexican food - I definitely prefer locally owned for those. I love food, but I would not be considered a foodie.

    When we do tend find locally owned places we like, we tend to go back again and again and again... lol. I'm not super adventurous.

    I currently live in a place with TONS of locally owned restaurants. I'm moving to a more suburban place, but there is still some local stuff within a reasonable driving distance. I should branch out and be at least a little more adventurous.
     
  20. bros

    bros Phenom

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    There's an amazing local restaurant near me - we go to it for special occasions. They're like 25-35 per entree. They have huge portions and delicious food with a seasonal menu and a menu of daily specials.

    Then there's a town that's like 30 minutes away that has quite a few restaurants - including one I want to try out that has a daily menu - depends on what the owners pick up at a market that day.
     
  21. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I could count, on one hand, the number of times I eat out when at home over the course of a typical year. I do, of course, eat out when visiting my daughter at school; where we go is always her choice--a 50/50 mix of chains and smaller, independent places.
     
  22. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    We are probably a 50/50 mix. Some of the places we go are kind of "local" chains - 3-4 locations in the Houston area. One of the places we go to is a growing chain, but still locally owned and we've been eating there since the first one opened, so I'm not sure where it would fall. I cook a lot, but we do go out once a week and have takeout about once a week. I really am a foodie, but we haven't been out to fancy places much since the kids were born, but their table manners are pretty good now, I think we will as soon as they show that they would eat more than 4 bites!
     
  23. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    My husband and I don't go out to eat much but when we do he prefers the smaller places that are pretty expensive but use fresh food. I'm not totally thrilled about these places because their menu seems to be very limited to maybe 5 entree items which are seasonal so there's a chance I won't like what's on the menu! That said, I don't care for chains much either. If it's one I haven't been to I don't mind trying it once just out of curiosity (I admit I just HAD to try Chipotle at least once!!) but do not frequent any on a regular basis. I'd just rather cook.
     
  24. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    Mostly local places when it's just the two of us.
    Family likes to eat at chains when they're visiting.
    I do go to Starbucks more than local coffee shops because I'm not going to drive out of my way in the mornings. But when there was a convenient local coffee shop I went there regularly.
     
  25. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I do love McDonald's, but there are a couple of local places that are amazing. Both are locally owned cafes with great, fresh food and creative menus.
     

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