I like the BigMc. Makes my tummy full and heavy. Yummy!
Excuse my intervention in your profound discussion but I feel called upon expressing my opinion concerning the question which is under consideration.
There are in my dictionary only two definitions regarding the mentioned above expressions and both are without "of".
chain store = individual retail store that is a part of a group of similar retail with the same management and ownership.
chain stores = Chain stores are groups of retail stores engaged in the same general field of business that operate under the same ownership or management.
There are in Internet a few usages of these expression with "of" but one in the great while.
Your English is improving! Congratulations!
Your dictionary is accurate. But let me try to clarify the concept we are discussing.
I think blouen expressed the clearest meaning when he said: The Mcdonald's store I ate in yesterday is part of the 'chain of stores' of Mcdonald's, a 'chain store company'.
Does McDonald's have 'a chain of stores' in Bulgaria? Or does it only have one store?
(After this profound discussion I may never eat at McDonald's again! )
Of course, usage differs from place to place. For example, I understand the British say "shop" where we North Americans would say "store."
I wouldn't call McDonald's or Burger King "stores." To me they're restaurants, or franchise operations. Ditto Starbucks; I'd call them cafes, or possibly coffee shops.