Sunday, February 21, 2010

The dumb desire to homogenize.

Downtown Nashville will soon become home to one of Jimmy Buffet's kitsch, but well liked Margaritaville cafes. Given the touristy vibe of lower Broadway this is a good thing. The werewolf has no problem with national restaurants chains. They succeed because they represent a consistency, familiarity, and comfort for segments of dining-out 

Nashville's daily newspaper, The Tennessean, has outdone itself in the department of stupid recommendations. Their website features a list of brain numbing chains that some twat thinks Nashville is missing. While there are a few chains that may merit consideration, the werewolf is flummoxed by the need for people to seek validations through homogenization. One of Nashville's most alluring features was how it had successfully resisted the homogenization that frequently possess other cities. Nashville is home to several decent local burger joints, Mexican restaurants, cafes, BBQ pits,  ice cream parlors, and bakeries, some of which the werewolf imagined had decent expansion and franchising potential themselves.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to diversify a local culinary scene with new editions, and having some of those new editions be chains. However, to think that the addition of the aforementioned chains is somehow validating and a source of credibility, well that is just tragically vanilla-esque and boring. Over-reliance of homogenization runs the risk of dampening the very features that make a city like Nashville such a gem. I guess it begs the question, is homogenization a sign of success and prominence? If so, where is the optimal balance achieved?


  1. I realize this isn't particularly original, but I think the solution is to just let the market sort it out. No need to ban Wal-mart, but certainly no need to actively seek out chains for validation, either.

  2. Agreed on the market oriented solution. The market's power will have the final say. The question raised was more directed at the validation of homogenization as trend and desire by some to push homogenization as a sign of credibility. I recognize the values of chains through economies of scale, would never support preventing a chain from opening up shop, but do question their macro-value add, when contrasted against the power maintaining differentiation through locally owned operations. What was so refreshing about Nashville was the overwhelming reliance on native operations contrasted against a healthy, but secondary presence of large chains. The struggle is finding the optimal balance between the two.