Restaurant Sales Halted in April but Sentiment Remained High

Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot™

Top 5 Restaurant Brands

Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Food

Food

  • The Capital Grille
  • Eddie V's Prime Seafood
  • Season's 52
  • Fish City Grill
  • Ted's Montana Grill
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Service

Service

  • The Capital Grille
  • Trulucks
  • Eddie V's Prime Seafood
  • Village Tavern
  • Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Intent to Return

Intent to Return

  • Fish City Grill
  • The Capital Grille
  • Ninety Nine Restaurants
  • Eddie V's Prime Seafood
  • Ocean Prime

Connecting the Dots on Performance

Restaurant brands in the top quartile of sales saw a 4.4% sales growth rate for Q1 of 2019.
These same top performers had net sentiment scores over 10 percentage points higher for guest intent to return

The restaurant industry has been performing better in recent quarters, and positive same-store sales growth is back to being the norm for the last year, but there are wide ranges in performance by brand.

During the first quarter of 2019, restaurant companies in the top quartile of same-store sales growth experienced growth rates almost 8.0 percentage points better than those in the bottom quartile. Needless to say, those are two starkly different sets of results. At the top, there are brands thriving and able to increase their guests counts year over year. These brands usually have the power to push their price increases a bit more due to the superior experience they are providing. Those at the bottom of sales performance are struggling with rapid decline in guests and rapidly falling sales year over year.

But is this great divide in performance captured through what the guests of these brands are saying online? Do they really mean it when they post a review to rave about a brand or to say they are never returning? White Box Social Intelligence analytics show there is a tie between stated intent to return and results in the marketplace.

During the first quarter, those same top performing restaurant brands had guest sentiment around intent to return 10 percentage points more positive than those brands with the worst sales growth.

Top DMAS

  • Best Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    philadelphia, pa
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverage

    tampa, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    philadelphia, pa

Bottom DMAS

  • Worst Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    san francisco, ca
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    san francisco, ca
  • Intent to Return

    seattle, wa
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverages

    raleigh, nc
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    raleigh, nc
  • Worst Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    raleigh, nc

Restaurant guests in some of Florida's major markets continue to lead the country in positive sentiment based on their recent restaurant experiences. During April, Orlando led the country in positive sentiment around restaurant food, service and ambiance. Tampa was the market with the highest net sentiment based on beverages.

Philadelphia rounded up the list of markets with the most positive guest sentiment. Guests there led the country in net sentiment on value and intent to return.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, guests in San Francisco and Raleigh were the least positive while discussing and rating their restaurant experiences during April.

While both Orlando and Tampa had better results than the -3.5 percent same-store traffic growth reported for the country during April, Raleigh and especially San Francisco underperformed during the month. Poor guest sentiment in April may signal bad news for a recovery in these latter markets.

Best & Worst Regions

Best
  • florida63.9% Positive
  • western60.7% Positive
  • mountain plains59.6% Positive
Worst
  • southeast55.6% Positive
  • ny-nj53.4% Positive
  • new england53.2% Positive

The entire region of Florida continues to dominate in restaurant guest sentiment in addition to having some of the most positive markets. The Western region has also consistently climbed to the top in terms of most positive restaurant sentiment. During April, these two regions had over 60 percent of all their restaurant mentions and reviews classified as conveying a positive sentiment.

These two regions were also the only ones in the country that achieved better than -3.0 percent same-store traffic results during April.

The regions with the least positive restaurant sentiment during April didn't offer any surprises. New England and New York-New Jersey are constantly proving their guests tend to be less positive about their restaurant experiences.

Interestingly, the three regions with the least positive guest sentiment during March are also the three regions with the worst same-store traffic results in April: New York-New Jersey, New England and the Southwest.

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The Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot is produced by White Box Social Intelligence™, a TDn2K Product™. 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.

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