This is a "for what it is worth" report.
SO and I were traveling on Friday, and had to go out I-66 and then south on I-81. Were hungry and stopped for a filler just after getting on I-81, exit 283 I believe (Woodstock). Stumbled into a Five Guys right there at the exit. Figured is was the best we were going to do, so we went in and ordered our usual. Were quite surprized when it all turned out to be pretty good, really no different from the location on King Street where I usually go. So maybe in some cases the franchise places can be OK.
The franchises are getting thick. We returned by coming up Rt 1, and I spotted three of them within a 20 or so mile stretch south of Alex. Having had our fill of custard at Carl's in Fredericksberg, we didn't stop at any.