10 Chain Restaurants Ranked Based On Personal Experiences

10 Chain Restaurants Ranked Based On Personal Experiences

They all have unique aspects that make them great.

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My only personal rule when it comes to dining out is never ever Applebee's. Applebee's is trash.

1. Chili's

Huge Chili's guy. Not a bad thing to say about the place. Fast service, consistent food and that cookie skillet are always excellent. Chicken crispers are OK too. Really just an ideal dining experience in all regards. Chilis to go is also a big draw. All around winner right here.

2. IHOP

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and IHOP allows you to get it all day long. With so many variations of pancakes, omelet's, eggs and even a full dinner menu, there is not much bad about the place. Especially a great late night dining destination. Often patronized by the elderly for their early bird special, there's sure to never be a dull moment at your local IHOP.

3. Texas Roadhouse

A great place for dinner. Get a nice cut of prime rib, some mashed potatoes and of course, those rolls. Sometimes it is very busy and takes a while for the food to come out but in the meantime they have peanuts. They seem to really emphasize quality and portions and therefore there is always a good value. Some have tried to copy their business model, but Texas Roadhouse does it best.

4. Waffle House

Southern Icon, waffle house. Place doesn't close. Ever. Thats admirable in and of itself. Menu is basic and food is nothing special, but there is just something about the environment and the way it feels like everyone is welcome there is excellent. Price is right too. Restaurants are usually dirty enough that you notice, but not dirty enough to really care.

5. Chick-Fil-A

Best service in the fast food industry hands down. When you walk in to a Chick-Fil-A, you are treated with utmost respect. Not to mention in terms of food quality and consistency, they take the cake. Only true downfalls are that it is relatively expensive and they are not open on Sundays. Killer milkshakes too.

6. Chipotle

Consistent. You walk in, you know what you're getting. The food is really not that special but the draw is that it is at least moderately healthy and always dank. Watch out for that E. Coli though, it'll getcha.

7. Auntie Annes

You ever been to a mall? There's probably an Auntie Anne's there. It's the pretzel place that is always there, smelling good. They have variations of pretzels such as pretzel dogs and pretzel nuggets and lemonade to wash it all down. A great snack. Reminds me of simpler times.

8. Dunkin' Donuts (Dunkin")

New England favorite. There are 3 within a mile of my house at home. Not really anything special about the place. It seems like more of a cultural thing. Still great though. Coffee coolatas are noteworthy.

9. McDonalds

American staple. Ice cream machine is always broken and food order sometimes gets messed up, but in a general sense McDonalds is always there for you. You can go anywhere in the country and be close to one. Coffee for only a buck is the best part.

10. Cici's Pizza

All you can eat pizza for $5.99 is a hell of a deal. They have almost any kind of pizza you can think of, even a dessert pizza. This place is not for everyone. It's kind of dirty and they usually have a shitty arcade, but for six bucks what do you expect.

For those with a refined palette, it is important to identify the things that make chain restaurants great. This is entirely subjective. Applebees is garbage.

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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6 Places You Need To Visit If You're A Vegan Visiting Richmond, VA

Richmond is a city that has an amazing vegan community filled with great food and awesome people.

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Living about 20 minutes from Richmond for many years has been such a blessing, but now that I'm away at college I experience the actually good vegan food crazing almost every day. Richmond is a one-of-a-kind city with amazing vegan food and so much more. To help cope with the sadness of my daily Richmond food crazings, I have created a list of some restaurants that have amazing vegan food!

For me and for your taste buds, if you're even in Richmond you have to take that opportunity to try out some of these amazingly restaurants!

Hang Space

About 15 minutes outside of Richmond, Hang Space, a 100% vegan eatery, is an awesome place to grub out with some vegan comfort food. If you're looking for good fried food, this is the place to go! Hang Space is a cozy eatery with a laid back environment where you can find loads of crazy delicious desserts! A typical menu consists of two mashed potato bowls, one a crispy chikin bowl and the other a BBQ tofu bowl.

The beyond burger is turned into a traditional cheez burger, along with the burger, they have the Chik-fil-Ain't, their twist on a traditional Chick-fil-A sandwich, and a chicken farm sub that is to die for! every week they may have a special on the menu, items change all the time. Stop by this eatery for a homey feel filled with some of the sweetest people.

Check out their Instagram for updates and pictures that'll make you drool.

Fresca on Addison

Just a few blocks from Cary Town, Fresca on Addison is a small Vegetarian Bistro filled with delicious choices that can be easily made vegan! They emphasize that they buy local, organic, fresh, healthy, and "damn good" foods for their restaurant. Choices at Fresca include stone oven pizzas, sandwiches, hearty soups, big stepson brown rice, quinoa, awesome desserts, and great coffee. Fresca is a small place good for grabbing a bite with a friend! Head to their Instagram for pictures of their sweet treats and other dishes!

Ipanema Cafe LLC

Ipanema is a laid back restaurant and bar great for dinner and some drinks! It is a full-service vegetarian restaurant filled with awesome food. They are known for their great food, desserts, and an outstanding bar. Ipanema is a long-standing Richmond restaurant that never disappoints. Their many vegan and vegetarian options bring customers back! Their menu ranges from creative salads to great portioned entrees like the chicken fried tempeh or the molé jackfruit tacos. With a knowledgable and respectful staff, this is a great restaurant for a night out on the town with some delicious food and good drinks! Check out their Instagram for specials and updates!

The Daily Bar and Grill

The Daily Bar and Grill, one on Cary street and another recently established in Short pump, is a great place to go when you looking for a lively environment fit for everyone. It is not a vegan or vegetarian restaurant, but they have some yummy options. The tempeh sandwich is my personal favorite, along with the Torte chocolate cake that is to die for. A few burritos or rice bowl options are available with tofu, and they have fried heart of palms with imitate fried calamari. The daily is a wide-open nature vibe restaurant with greens and browns to top off the vibes. It is a great place to go when you have a big group who all have different dietary needs! Check out their Instagram to see their posts of all the great food they serve.

NuVegan Café

NuVegan is the place to go when you're looking for hearty soul food. It is a cafeteria style restaurant where everything is displayed and you tell the employee what you want. They are 100% vegan with great options including desserts! Its a great place for when you're on the move and need somewhere to just grab something and go! It is a unique taste that differs from the usual things downtown, and certainly a great place to check out! Head over to their Instagram to check out specials and events happening!

821 Café

821 Cafe is a cute and quirky little restaurant with all the works! They're a joint for everyone, with all sorts of different options to choose from. 821 always has vegan options available that are so crazy good. They have specials every day that change daily, along with set menu items that are vegan, and items that can be modified to be vegan! They offer beer and wine for a relaxed dinner and they're always a happening place. I personally love their breakfast and brunch options, and it's a great spot because it's right in the VCU area. Check out their Instagram for updates on specials and operation hours!

Each of these establishments has their own food tastes and items that make them so amazing, so you can't go to just one! Make it a day (or a few days) and explore Richmond and all the amazing food and culture it has to offer.

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