You get better results optically printing by hand most negatives vs scanning and printing on a minilab machine. If you go the expensive route and drum scan and then print I think the results are about equal. Digital gains the edge for complex image corrections. I think the results from most optical and digital minilabs are usually poor quality, so the real issue is the care put into making the image.
I print my own color work both optically and with a drum scanner output to inkjet or chromira. It takes much more time to do a good scan, make the corrections, and print than it does to print optically once the processor is setup (not an insignificant amount of time and expense).
And yes, there is some information lost with scanning film, no matter how good the scanner is. There is also some loss with printing through an enlarging lens, no matter how good the lens is.