There was an interesting piece somewhere a while back how in many small American towns, the McDonald's functions like a kind of community centre, partly because it's often the only thing left in the town centre, and partly because franchisees and workers often have strong links in the community. I would still argue that it's poisonous to independent businesses, though.
Not just American. I either read, or listened to a Thinking Allowed episode, about chain cafes and restaurants and the meaning they had for different people in communities in London. Especially in regard to gentrification. I'm scraping this from the back of my memory, but I think the details were: Chains were generally seen as more welcoming, open, and inclusive to long-time locals and people with lower incomes. New independent places were seen as less welcoming as places "not for people like us."