Positive Intent to Return Sentiment Bodes Well for Industry

Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot™

Top 5 Restaurant Brands

Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Food

Food

  • Sullivan's Steakhouse
  • Texas Roadhouse
  • Olive Garden
  • Eat'n Park
  • A&W Restaurants
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Service

Service

  • Dunkin Donuts
  • sweetFrog Premium Frozen Yogurt
  • Hillstone Restaurant Group
  • Capital Grille
  • Fleming's
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Intent to Return

Intent to Return

  • Miller's Ale House
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Eat'n Park
  • sweetFrog Premium Frozen Yogurt
  • Taco Bueno

Connecting the Dots on Performance

The third quarter of 2017 was not good for the chain restaurant industry. The industry's -2.2 percent same-store sales growth rate represented the second worst quarter in over five years. Furthermore, it was a troubling 1.2 percentage point fall in sales growth compared with the second quarter's year-over-year growth rate. However, there are brands that are thriving in the marketplace and continue to post robust sales growth. During Q3, the brands in the top 25 percent based on sales growth performance had same-store sales growth that was on average 8 percentage points higher than those brands in the bottom 25 percent of sales performance. And the gap between top and bottom performers actually widened during the quarter. Restaurant guests continue to indicate that service is key to achieve superior restaurant performance. During the quarter, those brands in that same top performing set based on sales had net service sentiment scores that were on average 14.1 percentage points higher than those brands in the bottom-performing group. Regardless of industry segment and service style, those brands that meet (and better yet, exceed) guests' expectations of service continue to be rewarded with repeat visits and increasing same-store sales.

Top DMAS

  • Best Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    tampa, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    miami, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverage

    chicago, il
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    los angeles, ca
  • Best Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    orlando, fl

Bottom DMAS

  • Worst Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    chicago, il
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    miami, fl
  • Intent to Return

    seattle, wa
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverages

    charlotte, nc
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    st louis, mo
  • Worst Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    detroit, mi

Restaurant guests in Florida have shown very positive sentiment about their experiences recently. This phenomenon is not unusual. Even though the state was recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, Florida cities once again rose to the top in restaurant guest satisfaction during October. Tampa, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando had the highest marks in net positive sentiment* based on food, service, value and intent to return. The strong connection between guest sentiment for service and value continues to be crucial for restaurant performance. During October, the best performing market among the largest 25 in the country was Orlando. That was also the market that achieved the highest net positive sentiment on those two metrics. An interesting finding during the month was how the different components of the restaurant guest experience act independently of each other. Even if guests in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale had the most positive sentiment for intent to return in October, they also gave the lowest service marks. *Net positive guest sentiment is the percentage of positive mentions minus the percentage of negative mentions.

Best & Worst Regions

Best
  • mountain plains33.0% Positive
  • western32.5% Positive
  • new england32.2% Positive
Worst
  • southwest28.5% Positive
  • texas24.3% Positive
  • southeast23.1% Positive

Restaurants guests in the Mountain Plains region remain the most positive in the country. Not only were they the most positive overall, they also had the highest percentage of positive online mentions when discussing restaurant service and value. The region with the smallest percentage of overall positive restaurant guest mentions was the Southeast. This seems to have been due to the overall experience provided by restaurants and not to any one particular attribute among those measured. For the third time in the last four months, Texas emerged as one of the regions with the lowest levels of positive guest sentiment. Same-store sales have improved dramatically in the state as the region recovers from the hurricane, but guest perception has been eroding and could be a troubling factor for sales and traffic going forward.

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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.