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.