Here are my thoughts-
Chains arent’t inherently evil. They are a result of consumer demand and lifestyle. This may sound crazy, but most smart businesses will locate in an area where they will succeed. I fully support the rights of any business, either chain or individual, to operate in a marketplace.
Chains don’t drive out the Mom and Pop places directly. It’s a by-product of demand. It makes more sense to be angry at the perceived ignorance of those who consistently support chains then to be angry at the chain itself. The chain (or those running it) isn’t doing anything wrong by operating a business. In the end, you vote with your dollars. That’s it. The chain isn’t driving anyone out. People are making a conscious choice to leave one place and go to another. So they must want that. Chains don’t put a gun to anyone’s head.
Competition in business is healthy. It raises the overall quality of product and keeps prices lower. A good example is the U.S. car industry. The entry of better built foreign cars into the marketplace has resulted in increased quality of U.S. built cars at a more cost-effective level. I can give you tons of other examples if you’d like.
Chains may not be always of the highest quality, but it is the "consistency of the quality" that brings people in. They know what they are getting. If it’s crap, they can be pretty much be sure that they will get the same crap at another outlet of the same chain. But if it’s operating, there obviously is a demand for said crap, and business is all about taking advantage of a niche. So deal with it.
Part of the reasons that chains flourish is that quality and price vary within the local mom and pop places. Unfortunately, there are a lot of mom and pop joints that suck, and serve low quality food. I would say that in most towns, the crappy and mediocre local joints outnumber the good ones, and the stellar ones are few and far between. Any competition that drives out crappy places, whether or local or chain, is good.
If you are that angry about dining chains, at least be consistent and avoid the following chains- gas stations, department stores, Home Depots and Lowes, national banks and financial chains, etc. The by-product of the existence of all of these has been to eliminate the local purveyors as well. By patronizing these places, you are then supporting the very entity and activity that you claim to abhor. Although the products may differ, the execution and results are the same.