Interesting article from cnn.com about the impending demise of Red Lobster and the continued squeeze of the middle class.
Reading the author's experience about going out to eat at Red Lobster as a kid, I thought back to my own experiences. While I was raised by professionals, college professors, and we had a vacation home (cabin), we actually had very little free money growing up. I think that was due to the fact that my parents income was somewhat sporadic in that Dad was paid only 9 months out of the year and Mom's income was based on then number of courses she taught. We also probably spent more money on housing and recreation than a normal family in that we had a house on the water, the vacation cabin, and my parents prioritized experiences over things. So, we did lots of camping, sailing, skiing, traveling and that all cost money. They also were doing the right things with money, putting it away for college funds and their own retirement. As a result, we didn't have free money for eating out. Eating out was for super special occasions and mostly when Grandpa was in town for business. I can remember Grandpa taking my brother and I out for dinner. As a family, I remember just a few times going out to some kind of all you can eat buffet (I also remember getting sick b/c I ended up eating too much or the foods were too rich). Mostly though if we ate out it was never at a chain restaurant. As a result, I don't have the fondness or nostalgia for chain eating.
Today, we eat out quite a bit (an issue I am always working on) but we still hardly ever eat at a national chain. I much prefer eating at mom and pop places.
Did you have a favorite chain restaurant when you were a kid?