CHICAGO — according to recent Mintel research, 43 percent of American consumers who have dined at an independently owned eatery in the past month will attempt to choose an independent restaurant over a chain-operated in the future.

Fifty-two percent of independent restaurant users said they visit these establishments to support their local community/economy while 51 percent agree that independent restaurants do a good job of supporting their local community — compared to 37 percent who say the same of chain restaurants.

“People take pride in their communities and will often reward local businesses that make their community a better place,” said Eric Giandelone, director of Mintel Foodservice. “The primary way indies underperform in relation to chains is through a lack of promotions and limited-time offers, two things that could be easily addressed with social shopping and social networking sites.”

Among diners who did not visit an independent restaurant in the past month, 22 percent of respondents said it was too expensive, but more than half (56 percent) of people said they are willing to pay more at an independent restaurant.

Most diners are willing to pay up to 10 percent more for an independent dining experience for similar food and service found at a chain, Mintel relays.

“Independent restaurants have the advantage of being able to provide a unique experience for customers and have the freedom of not having to comply with government-mandated laws that chains have to face,” Giandelone added. “While chain restaurants are able to offer up a big helping of value and convenience, they need to focus on areas of opportunity where independents are rated better, such as unique menu items and local flair.”

When it comes to food quality and the ability to customize their orders, 42 percent of restaurant diners said independents are superior to chains. However, 21 percent believe they do a worse job than chains in regards to convenience and 20 percent say they fall behind chains when it comes to fast service.