Joey DeCuffa, owner of Joey's Italian restaurant, says Destiny USA's new restaurants are taking away customers local restaurants like his desperately need.
"If Destiny USA has 10 restaurants and they each do 200 diners a night, that is 2,000 diners a night that are being taken away from the local community," he says.
Local restaurant and business owners gathered for a special forum Thursday to voice their concerns to lawmakers about tax breaks they say give the large chain restaurants in Destiny USA an unfair advantage.
State Senator John DeFrancisco, a longtime critic of Destiny USA's tax exemptions, says he would like to see a more level playing field.
"It's difficult for small businesses. I really feel the answer is broad based tax cuts, not these special deals where government points out who the winners and losers are," he says.
Bud Lora from the Dining Alliance says business at local restaurants is down 20 to 30 percent since Destiny USA's new restaurants opened their doors.
He says the challenge facing them now is to educate the community about the importance of eating out at a local restaurant. "I'd like to get the consumers to see when they make their decision on a Friday or Saturday night. Make that dining decision for a local restaurant where the local money stays local," he says.