Each month during the first quarter of 2017 positive guest sentiment related to restaurant food and service has increased year-over-year. As was the case in previous months, it was the "service" attribute of the restaurant experience that saw the biggest jump in positive sentiment during March . This provides some hope for improved restaurant results in upcoming months, since TDn2K research shows service has been the specific guest satisfaction attribute with the biggest difference in guest scores between best and worst performing restaurant brands. However, as has been the trend since the beginning of 2017, March also saw less positive reviews related to guests' intent to return to the restaurant brands they reviewed online.
Service has proven to be the key driver of restaurant sales performance according to TDn2K's research. White Box Social Intelligence data shows that those brands which experienced an increase in their restaurant management turnover tended to have a more negative guest sentiment regarding their service. The mid-afternoon and breakfast day parts have seen the best results based on same-store sales during the last four quarters and seem to be where growth potential may be for the industry. Those restaurant brands with the most positive sentiment from their guests regarding their intent to return also tend to outperform the sales growth of their peers during this crucial mid-afternoon time slot.
The Mountain Plains region has emerged as the one with the most positive restaurant guest sentiment during the first quarter of 2017. During all three months of the first quarter, it was the region with the most positive guest satisfaction scores. In March, the average percentage of positive guest mentions was 38 percent across the eleven regions of the country; Mountain Plains received 43 percent positive guest mentions, singificantly higher than the industry average. The opposite can be said of the Southwest region, which has been among the bottom three regions based on positive guest sentiment over the last three months. In fact, the Southwest had the least positive sentiment the last two months in a row.
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.