When does a restaurant group become “A Chain?”

A posting on Boston.com October 15 discusses the objections of Boston’s Legal Seafood Group to being described as a Restaurant Chain.  Many groups especially higher end concepts, don’t like the image of being called a “chain restaurant,” even if they have over a dozen locations.  So what makes a restaurant a “chain restaurant?”

While there are some legal definitions from various government authorities, when it comes to image it’s opinion of course.  My view is that it depends on how much local level management authority exists in each location.

If there is a local Operating Partner or GM with equity who works a location daily with significant authority on primary issues such as food and drink menus, local advertising, decor, product mix, specials, promos, HR and community involvement, I think its possible for even a larger group to skirt the “chain restaurant” image.  But if nearly everything comes down from Corporate and even the GM is merely an employee, I think the “chain” description can become accurate as early as 5 plus units!

And sorry Legal Seafood, but I’m pretty sure having locations in airports makes you a Chain.  But then again, in the restaurant business a necessary part of becoming a “chain” is “growth!”  So maybe it’s not such a dirty word…

Learn more from this insightful article re Legal Seafood at Boston.com and let us know your take via email, Facebook, Twitter or WordPress!

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4 thoughts on “When does a restaurant group become “A Chain?””

  1. The term or concept of “chain” doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have a negative cognition. If something is good & a concept works – keeping the core values for consistency and making each link as strong as the other one = chain (cliche). Unfortunately, the pattern with many chains lately as been aging and bad concepts with lack of quality and too much quantity.

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