Is Legal Sea Foods a Restaurant Chain?

poll about restaurant chainHave you seen any of the commercials that are part of Legal Sea Foods “Not A Chain” campaign? They’re rather clever. But after watching them, I can still only think, “Really? Thou doth protest too much.” As much as Legal’s doesn’t want to be considered a restaurant chain, it is considered a chain restaurant by many, if not most. At least according to this poll pictured above.’s article, “When Does a Restaurant Become a Chain?” discusses this very issue.

For full disclosure, I cast a vote in this poll and said that I consider Legal’s a restaurant chain. When I took the screen shot of the results, there were 601 votes and 87.69% also considered it a chain. Also, at least at the time of this writing, if you look up Chain store in Wikipedia, there is a section for restaurant chains. Below is an excerpt with links removed.

A restaurant chain is a set of related restaurants in many different locations that are either under shared corporate ownership (e.g., McDonald’s in the U.S.) or franchising agreements. Typically, the restaurants within a chain are built to a standard format through architectural prototype development and offer a standard menu and/or services. …

Fast food restaurants are the most common, but sit-down restaurant chains (such as Timber Lodge Steakhouse, Outback Steakhouse, T.G.I. Friday’s, Legal Sea Foods, Ruby Tuesday,and Olive Garden) also exist.

Legal Sea Foods is listed as an example on the page right now, although I would not be surprised if their name is soon removed.

I remember when Legal Sea Foods was new and special, because you could only find it in the Boston area. Going to the Park Square restaurant was a really big deal. At least to me. The food was always wonderful. The service too. I haven’t been to a Legal Sea Foods in years, although I have planned to try one of their new concept restaurants. They do know how to keep things fresh! While their locations may be branded differently, they are still under the umbrella of Legal’s and part of their family. That is why it seems like a chain to me. Their restaurants are all still related.

Years ago, when I learned that you can find Legal’s restaurants not only outside of Massachusetts, but also outside of New England, I was a bit disappointed. They were no longer special to us in this region. One of the things that I love about travel is trying someplace that I cannot find at home.

If I’m in Florida or California, I generally don’t want to go places that I can find here in Massachusetts. Unless of course, I need a quick cup of coffee before my caffeine withdrawal headache starts and I can’t find a local coffee shop. Then I will go into a Starbucks.

What do you think? Do you consider Legal Sea Foods a chain? Have you been to one of their locations recently? Tried one of their new concept restaurants?

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4 thoughts on “Is Legal Sea Foods a Restaurant Chain?”

    • Jenise – The more I think about it, the more I believe that they don’t actually care if anyone thinks they are a chain. Of course they are! I think it’s just a really clever gimmick to keep us talking about them and so everyone knows how many locations they have. They got us!!

  1. I definitely agree that they are a chain, no matter what Roger Berkowitz says. And, I agree with you that the recent commercials are a means to start a conversation just like the one we’re having. Chains, like the ubiquitous McDonalds, used to signify (prob still do) that you will find the same quality and choice whether you’re in Boston or L.A. Nothing wrong with that. One thing I noticed when I used to travel for work, even 15 years ago that all Mall stores were the same! Boring. Last Legal’s I was in, was in Cambridge – very good, very fresh, great experience. Not eating out much anymore!

    • Suzanne – Thanks for stopping by! It may not seem like it, but I don’t eat out that much either. It’s the magical illusion of blogging! : ) I agree with you that chain food can be good. Who doesn’t love The Cheesecake Factory? Well, probably some. But overall I have enjoyed myself when I go there, regardless of the state. It’s true that most American malls seem the same. It can be good, because you know what you’ll find. But it’s also bad, because you know what you’ll find.

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