Superior Service Continues to Reward Restaurants

Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot™

Top 5 Restaurant Brands

Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Food

Food

  • Texas Roadhouse
  • The Palm Restaurant
  • Bravo! Cucina Italiana
  • Hillstone Restaurant Group
  • sweetFrog
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Service

Service

  • Lemonade
  • Rudy's Bar-B-Q
  • Hillstone Restaurant Group
  • Mission BBQ
  • Spring Creek Barbeque
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Intent to Return

Intent to Return

  • Lemonade
  • Snap Kitchen
  • Which Wich
  • sweetFrog
  • Abuelo's

Connecting the Dots on Performance

Restaurant sales growth has improved in recent months, but the gap between top-performing brands and those at the bottom based on same-store sales growth has been widening. And only about a third of all restaurant brands tracked by Black Box Intelligence actually achieved positive same-store sales growth during 2017. Clearly, there are some significant differences in terms of execution and results. A consistent finding by TDn2K when studying top performing restaurant brands and what differentiates them from others has been restaurant-level turnover. Top performing brands continuously report much lower turnover rates for their hourly employees as well as for all levels of restaurant management. During Q4 of 2017, those table service restaurant brands* that were among the top 25 percent based on same-store sales growth achieved hourly turnover rates that were on average 40 percent lower than those brands with the worse sales growth performance. TDn2K research using the White Box Social Intelligence provides some insight into the impact of turnover in restaurant operations. For those table service brands that were ranked among the top 25 percent based on sales growth, guest net sentiment based on the service they received was a staggering 31.4 percentage points higher than for those brands at the bottom of sales performance. The data suggests that having restaurants fully staffed with engaged and fully trained employees translates into perceivably better service for the guest. Furthermore, this superior service seems to be rewarded by guests through incremental restaurant visits and sales. *Table service brands include those classified under casual dining, family dining, upscale casual and fine dining.

Top DMAS

  • Best Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    tampa, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    chicago, il
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverage

    detroit, mi
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    philadelphia, pa
  • Best Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    sacramento, ca

Bottom DMAS

  • Worst Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    detroit, mi
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    detroit, mi
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    detroit, mi
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverages

    charlotte, nc
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    miami, fl
  • Worst Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    atlanta, ga

Although markets in Florida were able to achieve the top spot based on guest net sentiment* during January based on both food and service, the state was not as dominant as in recent months. In the past, we've seen as many as four of the six restaurant attributes being led by Florida markets based on positive guest sentiment. When it comes to a restaurant's ambiance, it seems having a football team on the way to winning the Super Bowl does not hurt. The market with the most positive ambiance sentiment during January was Philadelphia. On the other hand, as reported previously, restaurant guests in Detroit tend to be among the least positive when talking about their restaurant experiences online. During the first month of the year, Detroit ranked at the bottom of guest net sentiment for food, service, and intent to return. There is, nonetheless, a curious bright spot for Detroit during January. Even though guests were not very satisfied with most of their restaurant experience, Detroit emerged as the market with the highest net sentiment based on restaurant beverages. *Net sentiment is the percentage of positive mentions minus the percentage of negative mentions for a given restaurant attribute.

Best & Worst Regions

Best
  • mountain plains37.4% Positive
  • florida34.5% Positive
  • western34.3% Positive
Worst
  • mid-atlantic31.0% Positive
  • new england31.0% Positive
  • NY-NJ30.2% Positive

The one consistent trend that the Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot has uncovered is that restaurant guests in the Mountain Plains regions are the most positive in the country when it comes to rating their restaurant experiences. During January, this region once again achieved the top spot in positive sentiment, followed by Florida and the Western region. Another fairly consistent trend has been restaurant guests in the Northeast tend to be less positive than others when describing their satisfaction based on recent restaurant visits. The three regions with the lowest positive guest sentiment during January were New York/New Jersey, New England and the Mid-Atlantic.

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The Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot is produced by White Box Social Intelligence™, a TDn2K company™. WBSI is tracking over 550 brands to benchmark customer satisfaction and is the only online tool that integrates with operational performance data to validate the impact on financial performance. The algorithm determining ranking brands is based on sentiment and determined by White Box Social Intelligence. Brands included in this monthly snapshot must have a total of at least 250 mentions for the month. Restaurants must have a minimum number of units to be eligible as well. DMA rankings consider only the largest 25 areas.