Post Number: 364
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 2:34 pm: || |
3 of my family's favorite chains are Buca di Beppo, Claim Jumpers & the Cheesecake Factory. So why is it that CF, founded by Detroiters who retired out here, doesn't have ONE spot in Michigan?
Post Number: 4363
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 3:06 pm: || |
I agree with Dstar and Dvision about the 'familiar surroundings' logic. You and I may not eat at Applebees whether it is on Hall Road or Woodward Ave. downtown, but for better or for worse, a lot of people dig it, and a lot of people feel reassured when they go to an unfamiliar place when they see familiar venues. Sad but true.
A lot of the disdain for the olive gardens and applebees of the world comes from a) they aren't unique, and many people want to spend their time and money at unique places, and b) they are often in banal locations, e.g. 90 percent of applebees are probably on island plots surrounded by mall parking lots. For the people on this forum who seek out restaurants because they are in corktown, or eastern market, or downtown, eating in a mall parking lot is not very inspiring. I get all of that, and I'm with you.
As to whether they should be in the city or not, or, "are they good or bad for the city." I think the results of a balancing or cost-benefits test are mixed. The tax revenue is good. The jobs are good. And, no, this often isn't a "big, bad corporation thing," because of this little thing called franchise. These places aren't managed, and often are not owned, by the corporations based in Houston, Minneapolis, Columbus or some other corporate haven. They are managed and often owned by people in the neighborhoods. That's a plus. The downside is that they probably will not create net business, but rather only take business from existing places, and if you value your unique independantly-owned sandwich shop more than Subway #14,590 located next door, then this is not good. But if we say that competition is always good, e.g. the quality of the local place will improve, or the prices of both places won't rise, then all of a sudden you have a whole neighborhood of great restaurants, and a destination on your hands. If everyone knows that this area has good restaurants, then quite simply more people will go out to eat more often, and boom, you created demand and helped everyone involved. Or if the presence of Subway # 14,590 next to a independant shop on a particular block makes that block particularly appealing to a company that needs office space, and they choose a building on that block because of those lunch options, then again, demand has been created and both places are better off.
Those are theories. I hope they work for Detroit. I currently live in an under-invested area of New Jersey which has a handful of local establishments of decent but not great quality. A few new chain places are in the process of invading. All of them are constantly busy. I can see the destination-theory of restaurants starting to play out, like I described above (the same thing is definitely true in many parts of Detroit). If quality improves and prices don't rise, then I'll be really happy. We'll see.
By the way, the chains don't always win. Consider Starbucks. They came to Detroit and my current city, but they'll soon be leaving both places. What does that mean? Local coffeemakers can step in, maybe even to the same location, and benefit from the clientele that routinely went to that location for coffee. A win for the locavores.
Post Number: 100
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 3:34 pm: || |
didn't Bennigan's locate downtown some time ago?
They didn't stay long as I remember it.
Post Number: 108
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 3:49 pm: || |
If people against chain stores and also want them removed, wouldn't that make them...
Post Number: 2064
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 7:35 pm: || |
Mackinaw, that was a great post!
Post Number: 1085
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 7:41 pm: || |
I'm in with the familiarity theory. Normally, when I travel, I eat the local fare. But, sometime during the trip I look for something familiar.
We may not be talking about long-term travelers here in Detroit, but some folks do believe they're visiting a foreign country. Some from the suburbs have never visited downtown just to hang out. It's a beginning...
(Message edited by lodgedodger on December 11, 2008)
Post Number: 3534
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 8:02 pm: || |
Some folks find security in sameness and blandness...the positive side to these corporate chains is that they toss out lots of good food rather than give it away..so there's dumpster diving opps for the homeless coming.
Post Number: 1383
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 8:06 pm: || |
Exactly. And in all fairness there are plenty of us here in the city that actually travel to the suburbs to use some chaim amenities. If I had a dollar for every time myself or a friend wanted to go to Buffalo Wild Wings...but wait,we gotta drive to DBo or Ferndale...
There are plenty of city and suburban folks that would enjoy downtown chains. There are plenty of people around here who would frequent these places, even if the picky people on this forum would not.
Post Number: 5780
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 8:23 pm: || |
You know people who would go to Buffalo Wild Wings ON PURPOSE? Oh dude.
Post Number: 1280
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 8:27 pm: || |
Beggars can't be choosers.
Detroit should float a bond issue to raise enough money to get a Cheescake Factory in Detroit. Smart people run those places so it will never happen.
Nobody asks the question why, since a couple of chains see merit in downtown, locals don't open the same type establishments first. Don't like chains? Open your own restaurants.
Post Number: 5782
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 8:29 pm: || |
Or visit real restaurants and leave Cheeseball Factory to others.
Really really really, do you really and truly like that crap? I can see a PF Chang. I can sorta see a Ruth Chris (isn't that like Fifth Third?) or a Shula. But Crapcake Factory? Twelve pages of shitty food and Budweiser.
Post Number: 63
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 8:31 pm: || |
I can pass on chains also but, if we have to have one why not Chili's at least we could get a half way decent margarita! I haven't been able to find one since Agave closed. Chili's no way as good but way better then anything I've gotten in Mexicantown
Post Number: 4282
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 8:35 pm: || |
it's all about choice...simple..
Chains know the demographics...
I personally like Mom and Pop ethnic fairs... but look at the tax dollars & the more tax revenue, the better the chances for our city, and besides..and think of how monies can be used (like to go to Belle Isle)...naively hoping.
Besides when taking the kids out ...it takes awhile for them to get used to Hummus and Veggie Burgers...
Post Number: 7260
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 8:55 pm: || |
I'm a huge fan of the unique and out of the way places, but if a choice between empty storefronts and streets and chais, Open the gates.
Besides, the real enemy is SYSCO.
Post Number: 3699
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 9:20 pm: || |
Those of you who like to come to Las Vegas once in a while are in for some culture shock. Many of the resorts are replacing their in-house coffee shops and restaurants with TGIFriday's and (OmyGod) Denny's.
Post Number: 2066
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 9:22 pm: || |
YAY NEW RESTARAUNT!
Sorry, but if we have to have chains, hotels are the PERFECT place for them. Local restaurants are for locals and tourists willing to explore.
Besides, the ratio of new chains versus new family businesses appears to have remained the same. So I'm happy to see a new restaurant in Downtown Detroit, and am excited to see if Fridays will do anything to put any Detroit spins on the new location.
Post Number: 1281
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 9:38 pm: || |
Well, Oldred, why don't you tell us your definition of a "real restaurant?"
You've probably eaten in far more top notch restaurants than I have; you probably don't consider chains such as Morton's, Capital Grille or McCormick & Schmick's as "real restaurants," but I'd sure like your recommendation of something better than those places.
Actually, Detroit had some very good restaurants for years. Places such as the Ponchartrain Wine Cellars (ate there at least once a week for 15 years,) Joe Muers (same), and the London Chop House (never liked it, preferring the Caucus Club.) Why aren't those places still around do you think?
Personally, I think Cheesecake Factory (at least the couple I've tried) is top notch for the type of place it is.
Post Number: 441
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 9:53 pm: || |
I'd welcome almost anything right about now. Anybody that will hire warm bodies is alright in my book, chain or not.
Post Number: 2877
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 9:54 pm: || |
Fuck TGIF's. The only worthwhile places are the excruciatingly hip ones that nobody but us knows about. Let the tourists, and other visitors, pack a fuckin' bag lunch. We don't need those chain sunzabitches to open up new places, hire us locals, and pay property taxes; we got the goddam auto plants for that, so kiss my ass, I say.
Post Number: 2911
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 9:58 pm: || |
I don't understand people criticizing businesses that want to make a go of it anywhere. If you like it go there, if you don't like it don't go there. I could care less if something I don't like opens, I am free to choose wherever I go and the market will determine winners and losers.
Post Number: 2069
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 10:06 pm: || |
Awesome news! News flash: if you don't want to go, don't go. But tourists and out-of-towners will go, and this creates much needed foot traffic and tax revenue.
Chicago and New York both have silly mall-type chain restaurants in the Michigan Ave. and Times Square areas. You know what? The locals never go. No big deal. But they do fantastic business.
Post Number: 4366
|Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 10:58 pm: || |
Post Number: 16
|Posted on Friday, December 12, 2008 - 12:12 am: || |
How anyone defends the Cheesecake Factory is beyond me. Their cheesecake's pretty good, but when you have a menu that is 10 pages long and has advertisements in it, something's amiss.
Post Number: 15
|Posted on Friday, December 12, 2008 - 12:31 am: || |
Chain restaurants work real well in hotels because most people there are familiar with the name and will go there. Not saying a local place wouldn't work, but some people would be hesitant to go to a place they don't know. Besides.. its better in a hotel then everywhere else around downtown.
Post Number: 155
|Posted on Friday, December 12, 2008 - 12:48 am: || |
Eat wherever you prefer. If you don't like chains fine. If you do, fine. I go to both. I live in the city, so I'm not gonna drive out to the burbs just for some TGIFriday's. If I'm out at the mall buying some stuff and I'm hungry and there's one out there, I'll stop in. It's really simple....people are different with different preferences.
By the way...anybody ever eat at Milano Bakery by Eastern Market...GREAT deserts and I enjoyed a great triple decker turkey and bacon sandwich from there today
Post Number: 1552
|Posted on Friday, December 12, 2008 - 2:07 am: || |
I don't see where there'd be room for a TGIF in the Fort Shelby; all of the restaurant/coffee shop spaces are spoken for. Unless it's going in on a non-ground floor level a la Coach.
Post Number: 87
|Posted on Friday, December 12, 2008 - 2:17 am: || |
I'll take an Eli's cheesecake from Chicago over Cheesecake Factory any day.
Post Number: 14
|Posted on Friday, December 12, 2008 - 7:09 am: || |
While there are a lot of people here willing to try and stay with unique restaurants, there are a lot of people who'll never try non-chain restaurants because 'they don't know what they're going to get.'
I know it sounds dumb (and it does to me too), but some people are just that scared.
Post Number: 682
|Posted on Friday, December 12, 2008 - 10:20 pm: || |
What's wrong with TGIF coming into downtown? I'm not a fan of any chains, but if you're to have a viable downtown, it would have a healthy mix of independent and chain type businesses. Look at any healthy city in the country. Downtown Detroit, for many years, couldn't sustain a McDonalds, a Wendy's or a Taco Bell. From my experience, one of the main reasons the chains would be more likely to open in downtown Detroit(if, in fact they really care to) would be, because they have the resources(time, money legal)to battle with city hall. How many small, independent businesses can even afford the financial costs, much less the humiliations, of doing business with Detroit city hall? I had two pre-approved appointments recently, one with the DPD in the AM and one with BSE in the PM. The DPD didn't show until about 3 hours after our appointment. I left, had lunch, came back, sat for another hour until they showed. Not even a phone call was attempted by them, to apologize or explain the tardiness/absence. Later in the same day, at the direction of the DPD, I went to the BSE and waited another 1 1/2 hours to talk to an official. And this is the new, improved Detroit city hall. It's certainly better than it was 25 years ago, but not by very much. I've said for many years: "I love doing business in Detroit, I just hate doing business with Detroit".
Post Number: 178
|Posted on Friday, December 12, 2008 - 11:12 pm: || |
As stated above, a FINN & PORTER is going into the Fort Shelby. (You could hardly call it a chain, as there are only four of them in the country.)
So, where did this TGIF rumor come from? Did I miss the source in the thread?
Post Number: 5954
|Posted on Saturday, December 13, 2008 - 10:11 am: || |
The chain versus no chain issure is a moot point... when you have chains running the WESTIN Book Cadillac and the Fort Shelby DOUBLETREE hotels...
No one has bitched about that?
Post Number: 262
|Posted on Saturday, December 13, 2008 - 10:49 am: || |
quote: Actually, the only McDonald's is in the Renaissance Center. No Wendy's or Taco Bell at all. I know people get all pissy about chains, but we're not a (completely) closed economy, and chains give visitors a security blanket. Frankly, the lack of chain outlets in Detroit probably throws off an air of abnormality to people who are used to seeing an Appleby's, a McDonald's, a KFC, and a a Wendy's in every podunk town along an interstate.
Downtown Detroit, for many years, couldn't sustain a McDonalds, a Wendy's or a Taco Bell
Post Number: 696
|Posted on Saturday, December 13, 2008 - 12:25 pm: || |
Huggy, you likely aren't old enough to remember the closed chain restaurants in downtown Detroit. Their closings were the joke of downtown residents, workers and hangers. You are absolutely correct that the lack of chains throws off an air of abnormality. That's because it is abnormal. As I said before, I'm not a fan of chains, but they are a normal part of our business community. Any unique, original, independent business is superior to a chain, in my estimation. That doesn't stop me from visiting chains, occasionally. I tell a story of going to Chicago for New Years Eve about 20 years ago. Amtrak barely made it in to town because a blizzard was raging, the temps were way in the minus range and a lot of businesses were closed. I got into my hotel and headed out on the streets. Almost everything was closed except for ........McDonald's. There's a Mac's about every 3 or 4 blocks in the Loop and along the Magnificent Mile northward. It was so cold and snowy you couldn't walk more than about 3 or 4 blocks at a time. I love to walk for hours and miles. I lived on Mac's coffee and fries that night and the next day. I didn't appreciate Mac's so much since high school.
Post Number: 263
|Posted on Saturday, December 13, 2008 - 12:49 pm: || |
1Kielson, you have me there.
I'm barely old enough to remember the Taco Bell across from Lafayette CI and the McDonald's at Fort and Shelby (I think that's where it was - or was it at Warren and Woodward?).
Although I agree with you for the most part that independent shops are more fun, I can't agree about coffee shops. I'm really not sure that just any private coffee shop is better than, say, any Starbucks. It's not that Sbux makes great coffee (maybe 80% percentile) - but it's absolutely consistent. When you're traveling, your chances of hitting an independent coffee shop that serves burnt coffee are very high (as they are in Detroit) - and that can put a real cramp in your gut. Plus, do you really go on vacation and sit in any coffee shop? Hopefully you're just there getting a coffee so you can recover from partying the night before!
Post Number: 698
|Posted on Saturday, December 13, 2008 - 1:03 pm: || |
Huggy, I agree with your point about consistency, in general. If I'm on the highway I might be more likely to appreciate consistency. If I'm touring, say a city like Seattle or Vancouver, I'm going to try to find the neighborhood joints because that's where the character resides. In San Francisco there's a wealth of independent coffee houses. They, in fact, legally discourage chains(of all types) within the city limits. Of course, they're in a position to do that. Anyway, you can find a coffee house every couple of blocks, including in residential neighborhoods. That's an adventure in character and good coffee. Detroit needs to grab what it can. Detroit also needs a serious revolt against city hall. Throw the bums out!
Post Number: 830
|Posted on Saturday, December 13, 2008 - 1:11 pm: || |
i think there's an irony about suggesting that local shops are superior to chain stores. can a chain start out as a chain? more likely, chains emerge from a single shop that had a great product, strong demand, a good reputation, and provided a blueprint for success elsewhere.
that being said, i prefer spending my money at local, independent businesses. and hey, i've been to the hard rock a couple of times, and it's been nice. as others have mentioned, sometimes it's nice to have something that provides some familiarity and consistency. this is especially true for visitors to the city who have come for the super bowl, ncaa tourney, conventions, or whatever. it provides a focus from which folks can fan out, explore, and try new things.
Post Number: 2076
|Posted on Saturday, December 13, 2008 - 3:19 pm: || |
Ah, "a Fridays of something like it". LOL!
So if it's like a chain restaurant, that is just as bad?
Post Number: 5958
|Posted on Saturday, December 13, 2008 - 4:31 pm: || |
Fishbones in Greektown now has restaurants in St. Clair Shores and Southfield... so now that makes it a chain... right?
Post Number: 706
|Posted on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 10:19 pm: || |
My friend and I went to an Outback Steakhouse last night. Not long ago it was highly unlikely that I'd go to an Outback. Prior to my friend being diagnosed Celiac, it was highly unlikely that she'd go to an Outback. It's funny how things work out. Outback has a gluten free menu and is committed to serving gluten intolerant customers. The management and waitstaff were knowledgable about gluten intolerance and very helpful. We had a very nice dinner and extremely good, unpretentious service at fair prices. I'll go back. There are other gluten free restaurants in the area, some independently owned, which we have and will be exploring. My friend is involved in glutenfreeannarbor. GFAA has meetings and posts about restaurants and food sources. My main point is that different businesses serve different markets. I mostly prefer independents and small single or multiple unit restaurants. A choice amongst all of them is healthy.
Post Number: 451
|Posted on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 5:17 pm: || |
I'll vote for a Mongolian BBQ downtown. Even a Buddy's or Jett's Pizza. (They are chains from Michigan, aren't they?)
Post Number: 2049
|Posted on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 6:02 pm: || |
how about a downtown Hooters!
Post Number: 1282
|Posted on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 6:02 pm: || |
Choquant: re: CF "...when you have a menu ten pages long with ads something is amiss." Sounds like you judge books by their covers.
And if you scorn CF because of the length of its menu, you'd hate one of the best restaurants in the country, Birns Steakhouse in Tampa. The menu is more than 10 pages long and they have a 600,000 bottle wine cellar on site; the wine "list" is several hundred pages and is brought to the table on its own pedastle which the waiter sets next to the table.
Post Number: 5100
|Posted on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 6:08 pm: || |
I think we need to be glad that someone is opening something in Detroit right now. With restaurants and coffee shops closing all over the country, it's a blessing we're getting anything
Post Number: 40
|Posted on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 7:15 pm: || |
The pros for a chain downtown are as follows:
1. Anything new opening downtown is a huge deal.
2. It legitimizes downtown to the people who think the chains opening mean that downtown is ok now.
They may not care that Roast opened, but, wow a TGIF and they are on their way downtown after staying away for 20 years.
But please God not a Hooters!
Post Number: 440
|Posted on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 7:59 pm: || |
I think this is all in theory. There is no proof that a TGIF is opening any time soon.
Post Number: 713
|Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 1:15 am: || |
Jcole, I think you got it right. I'd even go as far as to say a 'Hooters' also. You don't have to go in it if you don't like it. I think there should be more of everything; chains, strip clubs, sports bars, country western joints, honky tonks, leather bars, dance clubs, gay bars, etc. Everything! What in the hell do people go to San Francisco, New Orleans or Las Vegas for? KK was a big opponent of strip clubs for a while. His ensuing activities highlights the hypocrisy of his moralising. I'd take another TGIF. Wasn't there a TGIF or a Bennigan's in the place later occupied by Sweet Georgia Brown? Right now, I'll settle for whomever chooses to open downtown - one at a time.