I've been noticing this the last few years in my travels, just back from a trip by the way. Normally we try to eat at well regarded, local restaurants we've researched when traveling. But occasionally time and place dictate we eat wherever we can, and sometimes that ends up being a chain restaurant.
On the mainland we've eaten at the Cheesecake Factory, CPK, Chili's, Tony Roma's, to name a few. Every one of them has served food that is so much better to what is served here in Hawaii, off the same menu. Why is that?
Even Wendy's served a freshly grilled, hot, juicy cheeseburger. I compare that to the line of microwaves at burger places locally. In fact a lot of food at the chains here taste pre-cooked, re-heated and lukewarm, while what we ate on the mainland came fresh out of the kitchen, usually piping hot.
This is just a personal observation, but I wonder if anyone else has noticed this. Perhaps that's why relatives on the mainland say they like the Olive Garden (????). Ok so much for my rant of the day..