Improved Service Perception Encourages Optimism for Sales Growth

Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot™

Top 5 Restaurant Brands

Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Food

Food

  • Mi Cocina
  • Eddie V's
  • The Capital Grille
  • True Food Kitchen
  • Seasons 52
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Service

Service

  • The Capital Grille
  • City Barbeque
  • Mi Cocina
  • Houston's
  • Eddie V's
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Intent to Return

Intent to Return

  • The Capital Grille
  • Mission BBQ
  • Newk's Eatery
  • Landry's Seafood
  • True Food Kitchen

Connecting the Dots on Performance

Top performing full service brands saw a 10.3 percent higher sales growth compared to bottom performers in Q1.
In Q1, top performing full service brands saw a 9.0 pt higer service score compared to bottom performers.

Notwithstanding the fact that same-store sales growth has been improving for restaurants during 2018, analyzing the data at the brand level indicates that significant challenges remain for chain restaurants. Year-to-date, only half of the restaurant brands tracked by Black Box Intelligence have been able to achieve positive same-store sales growth. Additionally, the gap between top performers (those in the top quartile based on sales growth) and bottom performers (those in the bottom quartile) has been widening in recent quarters. What is the value of being a top performer and what are these top performing brands doing differently? During the first quarter of 2018, the gap between top and bottom performers among full service brands (to include those classified under casual dining, family dining, upscale casual and fine dining) was an impressive 10.3 percentage point difference in their average same-store sales growth. A key differentiator of top performers is frequently found to be superior service perception by their guests. During that same quarter, those full service brands that achieved the highest sales growth rates had a 9.0 percentage point difference in their service net sentiment when compared with the brands with the lowest sales growth averages. When people decide to invest their time and money to dine at a restaurant, they are typically seeking a great “experience,” and the data shows that it is usually service that most correlates with fulfilling that expectation.

Top DMAS

  • Best Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    houston, tx
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverage

    raleigh, nc
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    tampa, fl
  • Best Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    orlando, fl

Bottom DMAS

  • Worst Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    denver, co
  • Service

    seattle, wa
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    charlotte, nc
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverages

    houston, tx
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    chicago, il
  • Worst Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    atlanta, ga

As has been frequently reported in past months, restaurant guests in Florida (and particularly in Orlando) tend to rate their restaurant experiences more positively than those in other large markets in the country. During June, Orlando topped the list of DMAs with the most positive guest sentiment based on food, service, and value. The market in which guests rated restaurant ambiance the most positive when commenting about their experiences online was Tampa. Houston was the DMA with the highest intent to return sentiment. Restaurants in this market have consistently received the highest marks regarding this significant metric. Houston has topped the list among the largest 25 DMAs in the country during four of the last five months based on guests' intent to return sentiment. Most importantly, it seems this stated sentiment has transformed into increased sales. Houston is also among the top four markets based on their average same-store sales growth for the last three months; however, there is room for improvement in beverage offerings as rated by guests. The Houston market had the lowest guest sentiment based on this attribute during the month.

Best & Worst Regions

Best
  • mountain plains33.7% Positive
  • southeast30.7% Positive
  • western29.5% Positive
Worst
  • new england26.3% Positive
  • mid-atlantic25.7% Positive
  • ny-nj25.1% Positive

The data for June continues to show that restaurant guests in the Mountain Plains region will likely rate their restaurant visits more positively than guests in any other region of the country. Along with the Southeast, these were the only two regions in which more than 30 percent of all online comments or ratings were positive. The trend also continues for guests in the northeast to be less positive than their peers in the rest of the country when discussing their restaurant experiences. The regions with the least positive sentiment during June were New York-New Jersey, the Midatlantic and New England. This data highlights the importance of having regional, state and even DMA benchmarks when evaluating guest sentiment, to take into account persistent regional patterns when measuring performance.

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The Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot is produced by White Box Social Intelligence™, a TDn2K company™. WBSI is tracking over 192 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.