Newell, good to hear from you and good question!
While I am sure some people have had good experiences with different brands, it is not a simple question to answer or straightforward to pick one company over others.
There are some important considerations to keep in mind:
Bandwidth Consumption of Camera
NVRs and VMSes are constrained by the bandwidth consumption coming in from cameras (presuming their IP) or from encoder (analog).
There is huge differences in camera bandwidth consumption (e.g., IP Camera Bandwidth / Storage Shootout).
The big thing now is smart codecs (which especially for retail chains with lots of areas with relatively low motion most of the time) could reduce bandwidth consumption 50-90% without any quality loss. On the other hand, this means either new IP cameras or DVRs for analog cameras. In the long term, smart codecs is really what you should be planning / working towards if remote viewing is important.
Investigations More Challenging
With live video, a lower resolution stream is often sent (multi-streaming or transcoding) to reduce bandwidth (e.g., you record at 1080p but you stream remotely at VGA, ~1/6th the resolution).
Some VMSes do that with recorded video, but as you mention, this can become a big problem when doing investigations because you really want to get all the details at full resolution. This is one of the reasons why moving (eventually) to smart codecs will really help.
Net/net, if you want all the details (which generally you do during the investigation), it's going to be slow unless you increase bandwidth efficiency (smart codecs, etc.).
NVR / VMS Configuration
Most NVRs and VMSes will benefit from configuring their remote monitoring settings (sometimes these are client side, other they are server side) that at least let you adjust how it streams out remotely.
Related, VMS Remote Monitoring Tested
Let me know what questions you have or if we can help.