The Student News Site of Milton High School

Local vs. Chain, which is better

October 26, 2017

Is local better?

Isn’t there just a different feel to walking into a locally owned, neighborhood burger place rather than strolling into one of the millions of McDonalds worldwide? There’s a sense of belonging and uniqueness to a one-of-a-kind business that is only run in Milton, Roswell or Alpharetta.

There are regular customers that frequent places like Cans, 850 Bar Pizza or Roswell Bicycles because of the family atmosphere that can’t be found at a chain franchise. The employees know the people of the area, and the customer service in these establishments is far better than that of any chain. Many Americans believe this to be true, as a survey conducted by the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer revealed that 81% percent of Americans believe that small businesses deliver better customer service than larger businesses do.

As it is (usually) their only location, small business owners put all their time and effort into putting out high-quality products, as opposed to chain companies who are just mass producing to make money in the quickest and fastest way possible. The ownership has the freedom to shape their business; however, they want as well since they have no higher bosses. Therefore, those places can adapt to their location’s personality, events, schools, and people. Consequently, there is a real sense of care for the surrounding area from places like Peach & the Porkchop, Milton’s, and many others because of the independence they have from other places, and the people, in turn, feel more attached to these businesses.

From an economical standpoint, local small businesses have also been proven to better their neighboring economies. Studies by economists at Yale and Bristol university have revealed that small businesses retain and create more jobs per sale than large-scale companies, while economists with the federal reserve bank of Atlanta found that counties with a higher percentage of employment in local businesses have stronger economies. Though it may be quicker or more convenient at times to choose a drive-thru, the feeling and experience of going to an establishment unique to Milton cannot be replicated.

Is chain better?

There’s no question that the restaurant industry is a big part of the United States and for Georgia in particular. In 2017, projected sales in Georgia’s restaurants were at $19.6 billion as recorded by the National Restaurant Organization (NRO). This growth can be predicted as an impact of chain restaurants spreading to new locations as many people seem to prefer them over local restaurants around them.

Chain restaurants are considered a more convenient and efficient way to get food due to the many service advantages. Chain restaurants often have take out, drive-thru and online ordering options, while local restaurants do not. In fact, according to the market research company, National Purchase Diary, purchases of take-out prepared foods have grown 30 percent since 2008.

Many chain restaurants, such as Olive Garden, Arby’s and Mellow Mushroom have decided to provide online ordering services through companies, like Uber and GrubHub, as well as their delivery services. The NRO has recorded that four in five restaurant operators agree that restaurant technology helps increase sales and productivity.

For every local restaurant in Milton, there is a chain restaurant as its equivalent; for example, people tend to compare Cans Taqueria to Moe’s or Vintage Pizzeria to Pizza Hut. Although some locals may be closer to home, citizens of Milton still drive  to chain restaurants because they provide a sense of familiarity for the customers.  

Pentallect Incorporation, a food industry consulting firm, estimated that in 2016, sales of $210 billion went towards independent restaurants, while large chains had sales of $312 billion. The comfort of knowing the protocol, menu and prices of a certain restaurant no matter the location, supports the popularity difference between the two.

Group studying outside of school is very common among students in Milton. Mugs on Milton seems like an ideal area for getting together; however, students still drive out a bit to get to a Starbucks and it is predicted that this is due to the difference in closing times. Mugs on Milton is open from 7am-4/6pm while Starbucks is open from 5am-10/11pm

According to the Food Institute’s analysis of the United States Department of Agriculture’s food, millennials spend 44% of their food dollars – or $2,921 annually –  on eating out, and although the authenticity of eating at a local restaurant in Milton is appealing, sometimes the conveniency of a drive-thru takes the cake.

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