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Breaking the Chain

A declaration of independents against chain restaurants

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This story appears in the July 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

As chain restaurants extend their reach into urban locales, independent restaurant owners say the best way to protect their turf is to join forces against the chains.

"The independent restaurant share of the dining-out pie is getting smaller and smaller," says Don Luria, president of the Council of Independent Restaurants of America (CIRA), which began in 1999 and now has 15 chapters. He points out that the rise in new restaurants, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs at anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 new restaurants per year, mostly comes from chains and franchises.

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