What’s better than eating at a locally owned restaurant? After a busy day at work, coming home to the kids asking, “what’s for dinner?” The easiest option is to pack everyone in the car and head to everyone’s favorite restaurant.

On top of the convenience, there are so many benefits of dining at a locally owned independent restaurant. Before reaching for the menu to a national chain fast food restaurant, Consider the pros of why you are better off visiting an independently owned restaurant.

Fresh Ingredients

Fast-food chains typically prepare their food hours before it’s ordered. Most dishes at popular chains are prepped in the morning for the day and then heated up in the microwave at the time of serving. Compare that to a locally owned restaurant down the street that begins preparing an order as soon as it hits the kitchen. Local Chefs place more importance on special requests that customers may have. Ingredients are fresh, locally sourced from farmers, and sliced and diced at the time of orders. Dishes are homemade, often made from recipes passed down for generations.

Hands-On Management

While individually run restaurants generally have one or two owners who focus their undivided energy on the business, chain restaurants have more structured management where duties and responsibilities are well defined and parameters preset. This makes the dining experience at large chains more impersonal and mechanical than a family-owned restaurant that can deliver a personal experience.

Friendly Environment

A friendly environment is key to running an independently owned restaurant. A family-owned business is more likely to greet you upon arrival, make you feel at home, and cater to your personal needs.

Some other great benefits of locally-owned restaurants are that they most likely purchase ingredients, products, and other services from locally-owned businesses. On the other hand, chains generally make their centralized purchases at a national level – wherever they can get the lowest price. Locally owned restaurants are more likely to utilize local services, including local purchases from other businesses that support the community. This ensures ingredients are fresher and have less of an environmental impact from transportation.

In essence, while both chain restaurants and locally-owned restaurants provide employment, supporting locally-owned restaurants puts more money into your community.