Chain restaurants are popular for obvious reasons -- dependable, non-challenging food in large portions for competitive prices. I gravitate toward the independents, not always with good results. But you feel more connection to the place, if nothing else.
The subject is being batted around on the website of the Baxter Bulletin in Mountain Home. You might want to check it out. And contribute your own thoughts here on chains vs. independent restaurants.
I happened to eat at a chain restaurant in the Boston Airport last week -- Legal Seafood. I have to agree with a fellow eater who said she'd read it'd been rated the best chain in the country. It managed to seem local and custom. And boy was my Portuguese seafood stew good.