There's been a lot that's been written about chains in the past few days, with the Cheesecake Factory igniting a fair amount of discussion, pro and con.
I live in LA, and know that there are certain CFs I would never go to again (Marina del Rey) because of various reasons, inconsistent quality of food, interminable wait, relatively flakey service, difficulties with parking, minor things like that.
But the CF in Brentwood is quite good, and since I normally do Take Out for very specific menu items like the Cobb Salad -- where serving it hot is not an issue -- this CF suits me quite well.
I've also found certain California Pizza Kitchens (again the Marina springs to mind) have served up more problems than at other branches. In fact the CPKs I've been to in Encino, Brentwood and Downtown have always been quite good, and the Tequila-Chicken Pasta and the 5 Cheese and Tomato Pizza have always been pretty good at these places.
It all comes down to personal tastes, luck with menu items, etc, but I maintain that some locations are just flat out better than others. I've found this to be true with nearly every restaurant that has multiple outlets, including fast food -- from Fatburger to Tommy's to El Pollo Loco. Interestingly, the one chain that probably has the most consistency is McDonald's -- for better or worse, the Big Macs in LA taste the same as those in Switzerland, and I can verify that from experience.
So I just wanted to throw this out there, that the location of the chain can clearly make a difference in your dining experiences -- which may help explain some of the wide discrepancies in opinion that go beyond personal taste.