Breaking the Chains

By Sabian Keller

Key West has received many food chains over the years such as McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and now Popeyes has come to fill in the empty space. Some, of course don’t do as well as others, survival of the not-so fittest. Unfortunately, they don’t do as well as intended to, compared to bigger cities. Key West can be a challenge for some of these food chains. In any other town and city it would do better and be more successful. The answer to the problem is simple, Key West culture.

Key West is known for its unique and fresh breath of culture, making it stand out from other big tourist cities. The chains are simply beaten out by local restaurants, as well as the choice to make food at home. Most prefer to save their money and use what they have at home, it’s cheaper to cook at home than it is to go out and spend money on food chains. Local restaurants offer Key West culture, whereas food chains only seem to offer basic food items, such as a burger or pizza. For example. Pizza Hut seems to be lacking success as consumers are choosing local pizzerias over chains, or the quality doesn’t match up to expectations.  “We live in a heavy tourism town, and when people come here, they want something new. They don’t want braind-type restaurants, they want something unique. I think it’s the cost and the demographics of the community. The year round population, work, bring their own lunch and when they go out they look forward to a food chain that has happy hours and deals.” Says Ms.Rech. Chains like Sonic are incredibly overpriced and expensive, which is why most prefer Burger King or McDonalds because they have deals like 2 for $5, or 2 for $6. Tourists are a big influence as well, they are much more interested in what Key West has to offer instead of the food chains they might seen in their own home town or city. Local restaurants like Tavern N’ Town, Blue Heaven, and El Siboney are popular choices for locals, as they express cuban cuisine and seafood, both have strong connections to Key West. Needless to say, Popeyes might flop like a squished fish patty on a bun, or come out on top like a chicken sandwich. 

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