The news site of Miami Palmetto Senior High School

Restaurant Chains vs. Local Ethnic Restaurants

December 11, 2018

Many American entrepreneurial dream about opening a small, local restaurant that expresses many of their own food and designial desires. Unfortunately, this task proves itself as one of the most competitive and difficult to succeed in. Local restaurants face constant competition with restaurant chains located on every street corner. Restaurant chains open nationwide experience more frequent activity due to their low prices and quick service. Therefore, consumers are faced with the daily challenge, whether supporting the community outweighs quick and cheap meals. Local restaurants open weekly despite certain odds, such as  60 percent of local restaurants closing within their first year. However, consumers recognize the individuality local restaurants add to the community, as seen in recent statistics. The total restaurant revenue for 2017 estimated to around $799 billion, with $263 billion dedicated to independently owned restaurants and $234 billion for quick-service restaurants, exemplifying greater revenue for the independent dine-in experience.

Mexican chain restaurants serve as the most frequently established in the nation. Taco Bell, On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina and Chipotle Mexican Grill represent some of the nationally recognized fast food Mexican places. Chipotle Mexican Grill, founded in 1993, has over 2,400 restaurants internationally — 146 located in Florida. Their menu generally focuses on burritos, tacos, quesadillas and burrito bowls. They prioritize their ingredient list and do not serve any artificial ingredients, exercising their slogan, “food with integrity.” Chipotle provides the common consumer with the opportunity to experience food that tastes like traditional Tex-Mex, but expresses the convenience customers desire.

A burrito takes no more than two minutes for the employees to assemble. The steak burrito, retailing at eight dollars and served in a flour tortilla, one of the restaurant’s most famous orders. In order to satisfy customers, they provide a wide selection of toppings to customize their orders. Chipotle’s service and food tops the charts and the restaurant provides easy access to Mexican food for lower prices that not many other restaurants can match. Although the chain has many factors in their favor, people tend to question the authenticity of it. Customers do not receive the full Tex-Mex experience by eating at the chain. The interior of most of the restaurants look identical to one another and no sense of individuality exists amongst them. This may not seem like a pressing issue, but chain restaurants, like Chipotle, can lead to much repetition and a lack of individuality in a community.

On the other hand, restaurants like the local Don Burrito add a sense of color and culture in a society that gradually becomes dominated by restaurant chains. Don Burrito, located in Kendall, successfully competes with the many Mexican chains all throughout Miami. The independently-owned establishment prides themselves in the authenticity of their food and the fun-filled atmosphere their restaurant creates. With walls painted bright yellow and decor mirroring traditional Mexican culture, customers enjoy a dining experience like no other. The restaurant has been loved by customers for over two decades and continues to thrive. Additionally, the Don Burrito competes with Chipotle’s convenience by partnering with GrubHub and UberEats, two apps that can deliver food with the click of a few buttons. The restaurant provides the best of both worlds: either experience the culture of authentic Mexican cuisine or enjoy it from home. They also offer a wider variety of food on the menu, branching off from the standard burrito, taco and quesadilla menu. They serve traditional Mexican desserts, such as flan, to add a “sweet finish to your meal.”

The convenience of a restaurant chain does not outshine the overall experience one gains from an authentic dining experience. The entire atmospheres of the two types of restaurants differ dramatically. A chain may provide the cheap, quick service a consumer looks for after a long day, but local ethnic restaurants build to the community and transport their customers to the native country of the food.

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