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How to Recognise a Local Place Compared to a Chain: A Traveller's Guide

Updated: 5 days ago


When you're exploring a new city, one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the local culture is by dining at local establishments rather than chain restaurants. But how can you tell the difference? In this blog post, we'll share some insider tips on how to recognise a local place compared to a chain.

Look for Unique Signage

Local Places

  • Hand-Painted Signs: Often, local places will have hand-painted or custom-made signs.

  • Local Language: The sign might be in the local language, which adds a touch of authenticity.


  • Standardised Logos: Chain restaurants usually have standardised, professionally designed logos.

Check the Menu

Local Places

  • Limited Choices: A local place often has a more limited menu, focusing on regional dishes.

  • Handwritten Menus: Sometimes, the menu is handwritten or printed on simple paper.


  • Extensive Menu: Chains often have extensive menus that cater to a broader audience.

  • Branded Menus: The menus are usually laminated and feature the chain's logo.

Observe the Staff

Local Places

  • Owner-Operated: Many local places are owner-operated, so you might see the owner taking orders or cooking.

  • Local Staff: The staff are usually locals and might even speak in the local dialect.


  • Uniformed Staff: Staff at chain restaurants usually wear uniforms and follow a script when talking to customers.

Listen to the Music

Local Places

  • Local Tunes: You're likely to hear local music or a personalised playlist.


  • Generic Playlist: Chains often play a corporate-approved playlist that you might hear in any of their locations worldwide.

Check Online Reviews

Local Places

  • Personal Stories: Reviews often include personal stories about the owner or staff.


  • Standardised Experience: Reviews often focus on the consistency of the food and service.

Take Note of the Décor

Local Places

  • Unique and Quirky: Local places often have unique, sometimes quirky, décor that reflects the owner's taste.


  • Standardised Décor: Chains usually have a standard interior design that is replicated across all locations.


Recognising a local place compared to a chain can enhance your travel experience and help you immerse yourself in the local culture.

From checking the signage to observing the staff, these tips will help you make an informed choice on where to dine during your travels.

With Great Love,
Lea - Club 28 x


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