As a college educated 20-something I realize I’m supposed to shun chain restaurants, only support local or one of a kind places, and be really, really into small plates and menu items that contain words like “organic,” “locally grown,” “fair-trade,” and the like. I enjoy and support those types of restaurants when I can but I’m going keep it real for a moment: I love chain restaurants. I LOVE THEM. I <3 <3 them. They are the wind beneath my wings. They are #myeverything. And don’t you even dare sit there on your high horse pretending like you don’t go to Olive Garden once a month for some soup and breadsticks or that never ending precious pasta bowl. I see you.
1. Free bread
Dat bread, tho. Olive Garden. Red Lobster. Outback. Texas Roadhouse. These are just a few places that offer free bread before your meal comes and I don’t know about you but I’m pretty sure the biscuits from Red Lobster are made from the tears of baby Jesus himself. What I never understand though is when you go to some of these places and they give you three biscuits for two people. Uhm, I’m sorry. Am I supposed to share that third biscuit? You must be high if you think I’m about to share that beautiful baked bread made of all things magic and unicorns.
I believe it was the one and only John Stamos who sang in the Full House theme song, “What ever happened to predictability?” Johnny baby is so right, though. What ever did happen to predictability? I kinda like the fact I can go to any Chilli’s in the U.S. and get the exact same food at the Chili’s in my hometown. There’s a comfort there, a warming of the soul. Chain restaurants are always there for us; trusty and dependable like the best friend from childhood we hang out with from time to time when we find our way back home.
3. Awesome specials
Half off apps after 9 p.m. 2 for $20. Pretty sure Applebee’s is winning the restaurant chain game with their specials. Sure, their food is clearly frozen and filled with a list of chemicals I can’t pronounce but who cares when you only have to spend $4 bucks on a giant plate of chicken quesadillas? Most chain restaurants offer crazy good deals and when you have $20 or less to spend on a meal out + tip it’s hard to say no.
4. Portion sizes
I read recently Olive Garden is trying to appease the Millennials by offering tapas. That’s nice and all, I can get down with tapas once in awhile, but I’m slightly annoyed small plates are taking over at the moment. Oh cool, I’m supposed to spend $15 for this tiny ass plate, order at least two of them, and then SHARE with everyone at the table. It’s fun when you’re with a group, have the cash to spend, and are in the mood to try new dishes. The abundance of food you are given at chain restaurants is probably everything that’s wrong with America but that massive plate of chicken scampi will feed me in leftovers for at least the next 2 meals.
5. Laid back atmosphere
I remember going to Texas Roadhouse for the first time when I was a child and eating the peanuts at the table. I asked my mom what to do with the shells. “You just throw them on the floor, I guess,” she said. It seemed so bizarre to me, even though I could see hundreds of peanut shells on the floor from the ghost of former patrons. That’s one of the benefits of a chain restaurant. When you’re there, you don’t have to impress anyone. You don’t need to get a dress dry-cleaned or wear your best suit. You can wear jeans, throw shit on the floor, stuff your face full of high calorie foods, and just do you.