Abstract This study explores the relationship between the number of critical food safety violations and the restaurant's status as either a chain or independent foodservice provider and location. The State of Florida categorized the restaurant operations according to the type of license obtained, chain or independent. Chain restaurants are defined as multi-unit restaurants owned or operated by the same company or individual that total seven locations or more. Data for the current study was retrieved from the public records for the fiscal years 2009–2010 and 2010–2011. The study found that both the aggregate number of critical violations and risk factors and the number of individual critical violations and risk factors were significantly different among chain and non-chain restaurants in the state of Florida. Results indicate that the number of critical violations received is impacted by both the location of the restaurant and whether the restaurant is independently operated or a chain. The current study assists in explaining underlying reasons for repeated food safety violations despite Florida's required food safety training certification of restaurant managers and training of their staff; providing implications for academics and foodservice practitioners alike.