Guest Satisfaction Increases With Restaurant Comp Sales

Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot™

Top 5 Restaurant Brands

Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Food

Food

  • Charley's Grilled Subs
  • Mi Cocina
  • sweetFrog Premium Frozen Yogurt
  • Modern Market
  • Eddie V's
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Service

Service

  • Lemonade
  • Mi Cocina
  • Mission BBQ
  • Tijuana Flats
  • Islands Restaurants
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Intent to Return

Intent to Return

  • Lemonade
  • Mi Cocina
  • Torchy's Tacos
  • Islands Restaurants
  • Modern Market

Connecting the Dots on Performance

Last year was not a good one for restaurant sales. Same-store sales growth was -1.1 percent during 2017. The vast majority of chain restaurant brands experienced declining sales growth in their existing stores. However, some brands succeeded and even thrived in this challenging environment. In fact, the gap in performance between top and bottom performers was very wide during 2017. Top performing brands based on sales growth had same-store sales growth rates that not only were positive last year, but were also a staggering 9.7 percent higher than those brands with the lowest sales growth rates.

As would be expected, top performing brands based on sales tend to have higher net sentiment scores. What are the guest sentiment attributes that differentiate the best from the worst? Top performing brands have experienced significantly higher sales growth on their beverages over the past two years. In turn, their guests discussed beverages at these brands in a much more positive light online. In fact, beverage net sentiment for these top performing brands was 21.1 percentage points higher than for those brands in the lowest tier of sales performance. The guests have said through both their dollars and their online activity that they care about beverages when they go out to eat. More importantly, it seems to be one of those key differentiators that helps them decide where they will dine. Brands with the best drinks are rewarded with incremental sales dollars overall, not just for their beverages.

Furthermore, beverage net sentiment proves to be vital for both table service brands (where it includes alcoholic beverages) as well as counter service brands (where it is based on soft drinks and coffee). Regardless of industry segment, guests are looking for much more than just food when they make their dining decisions.

Top DMAS

  • Best Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    los angeles, ca
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    raleigh, nc
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    los angeles, ca
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverage

    chicago, il
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    new york, ny
  • Best Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    orlando, fl

Bottom DMAS

  • Worst Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    miami, fl
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    philadelphia, pa
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    denver, co
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverages

    minneapolis, mn
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    atlanta, ga
  • Worst Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    atlanta, ga

At the individual market level, Los Angeles emerged as the most positive during March based on the net sentiment scores for food and intent to return. Markets in Florida have typically been the most positive in several guest sentiment attributes. However, out of all Florida markets, only Orlando topped the list for one attribute during March. Guests in Orlando were the most satisfied out of the top 25 largest markets in the country when it came to their perception of restaurant value received during March.

However, there was an interesting finding during March. Philadelphia received the least positive sentiment based on service as well as the lowest same-store sales growth. By contrast, Raleigh led the major markets in their positive service sentiment and was among the top six major markets in the country with the highest same-store sales growth during March. This highlights the importance of service in a restaurant experience.

Best & Worst Regions

Best
  • mountain plains34.6% Positive
  • california33.2% Positive
  • western32.9% Positive
Worst
  • new england30.2% Positive
  • texas29.2% Positive
  • NY-NJ27.7% Positive

After a short stumble during February, the Mountain Plains* region topped the list again with the most positive online restaurant mentions during March. This has been a long standing trend. Operators in this region can expect guest comments and reviews to be more positive there than in the rest of the country.

California and the Western region** also led the way with positive online comments in March. It is important to mention that restaurant sales in these two regions have been much stronger than for other regions in recent months.

On the other end of the spectrum, there were only two regions of the country for which less than 30 percent of all restaurant online mentions were positive: Texas and New York-New Jersey. Restaurant guests in Texas are not usually among the least positive in the country. However, guests in the New York-New Jersey region have typically shown dissatisfaction with their restaurant experiences. Or, at least, they are among the most open to sharing their not-so-positive sentiment online.

*The Mountain Plains region consists of Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.

**The Western region consists of Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

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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.