Chain restaurants are ubiquitous - they infest every town centre with their generic cuisine, whether its pizzas and pastas, burgers or a slightly soggy risotto. With menus the same across the country, food shipped in from a single source many miles away, themed decor and often irritating muzak, eating at chain restuarants may not be a terrible experience, but it is rarely a great one.
The world's largest restaurant, McDonalds, has nearly 40,000 restaurants across 120 countries, and they serve 69 million people a day, with the golden arches logo recognisable across the world.
It was in fact a McDonalds being built at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome which started the whole Slow Food Movement in 1986. 25 years later, the movement has over 150,000 members across 150 countries, with the emphasis on locally produced, good quality food.
The same applies to coffee shops such as Costa or Starbucks - they have filled high streets, petrol stations, canteens, popular beauty spots; they are everywhere.
Starbucks has over 30,000 shops in 70 countries, Costa has nearly 4,000 across 3 continents. People used to dream of running their own little coffee shop, but few bother now when the competition is this fierce. Peaceful and quirky little tea rooms are now becoming a thing of the past, instead we only get to chose between the large chains.