A friend of mine recently told me that as he was driving through South Florida, he had the sense that all the restaurants were nationwide chains.
When I walked home from shul today, I counted eighteen restaurants. To my knowledge, only seven* are chains (not counting local chains). It might be that where I live (Mandarin) is atypical.
But since I live in sprawl, I doubt it.
Here's an alternative possible explanation: the restaurants with the biggest signage are Wendy's (a national chain) and Krystal (a large chain- not quite nationwide but pretty widespread in the South). Could it be that my friend notices the chains because of their signage, but doesn't notice the local restaurants because they are wedged inconspiciously in the back of strip malls?
*Of course, I realize that some people think that seven chains (or even one chain perhaps) are too many. But that's another discussion.