Restaurant Service Scores Rising as Sales Continue to Improve

Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot™

Top 5 Restaurant Brands

Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Food

Food

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

Service

  • The Capital Grille
  • Mi Cocina
  • Eddie V's
  • Ocean Prime
  • Seasons 52
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Intent to Return

Intent to Return

  • Mi Cocina
  • The Capital Grille
  • Eddie V's
  • Seasons 52
  • Ocean Prime

Connecting the Dots on Performance

Top performing limited service brands reported 7.87% higher sales growth in the second quarter of 2018 compared to bottom performers.
Top performing limited service brands reported a 16pt higher net sentiment score for ambiance in the second quarter, compared to bottom performers.

While restaurant sales and traffic performance improved in recent quarters, TDn2K's Black Box Intelligence data shows that the gap in same-store sales and traffic between top and bottom performers has been widening. Those restaurant brands that are finding success in the marketplace are increasingly doing much better than those in the bottom quartile of sales growth performance.

During the second quarter of 2018, those limited service brands (quick service and fast casual) in the top performing quartile (those with same-store sales growth in the top 25 percent of all limited service brands tracked by Black Box Intelligence) achieved sales growth that was almost 8 percentage points higher than those limited service brands in the lowest performing quartile (those among the lowest 25 percent of same-store sales growth).

Obviously, there is a lot of value in being a top performer and being able to increase revenues at this much higher pace. So the question becomes: what are these top performing brands doing differently that is setting them apart from their competitors? According to TDn2K's White Box Social Intelligence, one of the answers comes in the form of improved ambiance perception by their guests. Limited service brands in the top quartile of sales growth performance during the second quarter had a net sentiment score for ambiance that was 16 percentage points higher than the scores for brands in the lowest quartile of sales performance. Another important insight that comes from analyzing the actual ambiance-related mentions is that in many cases, improving ambiance perception is not a matter of capital intensive investments. Frequently, it is as simple as focusing on the people side of the equation to improve the restaurant's cleanliness, the appearance of the table when a guest sits down and the speed at which those tables are getting bussed and prepared for the new guests walking in.

Top DMAS

  • Best Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    phoenix, az
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverage

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    new york, ny
  • Best Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    orlando, fl

Bottom DMAS

  • Worst Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    raleigh, nc
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    san francisco, ca
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    raleigh, nc
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverages

    raleigh, nc
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    raleigh, nc
  • Worst Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    los angeles, ca

Orlando, FL emerged again as the most positive among the largest 25 markets in the country regarding restaurant sentiment. Guests in Orlando rated their restaurant experiences during September as the most positive based on food, beverage, service and value.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Raleigh was the market where guests had the least positive sentiment on their restaurant experiences during September. Guests in this DMA were the least positive when discussing restaurant food, beverage, ambiance and intent to return. Not only were guests the least positive in Raleigh when discussing restaurant brands online, this DMA was also the lowest performing during September based on same-store sales growth among the largest 25 markets in the country.

The least positive DMA based on service guest sentiment was San Francisco, after being the least positive the previous month based on food. Perhaps a reflection of these lower levels of satisfaction with chain restaurants, this market is among the bottom three based on sales growth performance in September.

Best & Worst Regions

Best
  • florida53.8% Positive
  • western52.8% Positive
  • mountain plains52.4% Positive
Worst
  • california45.5% Positive
  • southwest45.2% Positive
  • ny-nj44.4% Positive

September saw a significant shift in restaurant sentiment when analyzed from a regional perspective. Typically, we have seen the Mountain Plains as the region of the country where restaurant guests consistently tend to have a much more positive outlook when discussing their restaurant experiences than anywhere else in the country. During this month, Mountain Plains remained among one of the three regions where more than 50% of all restaurant mentions where classified as having a positive sentiment. However, the region that established itself as having the most positive restaurant sentiment during September was Florida.

Major markets in Florida (Orlando, Miami and Tampa) have frequently risen to the top based on their positive sentiment across individual attributes of the restaurant experience. However, it is until this month that the entire region posted the most positive sentiment overall.

The trend that continued during September was restaurant guests in the New York-New Jersey region being the least positive in the country when describing their restaurant experiences online. Restaurant operators doing business in that region most must account for their reviews in that area to be more critical of their performance, especially when comparing with guest sentiment across their other locations if they operate them in other regions of the country.

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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.