Every so often someone posts on the chains board for presumably the sole purpose of bashing chains and telling everyone how they only eat at local non-chain establishments.
DH and I just got back from five days in Maine. We had some wonderful food at local non-chain establishments. However, we also had really bad hot chocolate at two different local places, and stale cinnamon rolls at a local bakery that came recommended. THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED TO ME AT STARBUCKS. In fact, when we killed some time at a mall in Bangor before our flight back, the first thing I did was hit the Starbucks kiosk to get their hot chocolate, which is the best hot chocolate I've ever had anywhere.
Even when you're enjoying local regional cuisine on a trip, it's nice when there are chains nearby in case you're having a bout of bad luck with the local stuff. You usually know what you're getting with a chain, even if the quality varies a little bit by location.
That's why chains are great.