Independent restaurant operators may face a tough road these days, but they may have one advantage over chain restaurants: many consumers prefer them. According to a report from market research firm Mintel Group, 43 percent of American consumers who have visited an independent restaurant in the past month said they make a point of seeking them out over chains. Independents, however, could do a better job of offering promotions and limited-time offers to compete with chains, Mintel said. ...

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