Today's Wall Street Journal (7/9) has an interesting article re: sophisticated upscale restaurant chains (Morton's, Cheesecake Factory etc.) gaining in market share over independent restaurants.
While I try not to frequent these sort of places, some of them are dependable and serve decent food (let me be clear: Olive Garden isn't on my list!)
My view is it is bad news in the short term, but better for chowhounds over the long haul. Independents will have to improve their product (after all, there are plenty of lousy mom and pop restaurants)or get out of the industry. The best independent restaurants (no matter what their cuisine or price point) will thrive due to the quality of their product.
The California board has not had much in the way of interesting posts lately, so a healthy debate is in order!