Positive Sales Growth for Restaurants Reflected in Online Guest Sentiment

Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot™

Top 5 Restaurant Brands

Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Food

Food

Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Service

Service

Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Intent to Return

Intent to Return

Connecting the Dots on Performance

Restaurant same-store sales growth is improving, but not all brands are benefitting from this rise in consumer spending. In fact, the gap in sales growth rates between top-performing brands and bottom performing brands has widened in recent months. The rising tide is not raising all boats equally. As a result, restaurant brands are left trying to answer the question: how do we win in today's highly competitive marketplace? One of the answers that TDn2K research continues to provide is that service is one of the most important differentiators between top and bottom performers, and one that is not easily replicated by a brand's competitors. Furthermore, there is a connection between restaurant employee retention and guest service perception. During the fourth quarter of 2016, top performing restaurant brands (defined as those in the 25 percent with the highest same-store sales growth) had restaurant hourly employee turnover rates that were 30 percentage points lower than those brands in the bottom 25 percent of performance. Intuitively, it makes sense to assume those brands with higher turnover are probably not providing the highest levels of service to their guests. High employee rotation would mean employees in training or with little tenure are commonly on the front lines servicing the guests. But is that really the case? White Box Social Intelligence data shows that those same top performing brands, which tend to have the lower turnover rates, also receive on average much more positive service comments from their guests. Service net sentiment is on average 27.4 percentage points higher for top performing brands based on same-store sales than for bottom performing brands. In other words, top performing brands on average get 27 percent more positive service mentions than those with the worse same-store sales growth rates.

Top DMAS

  • Best Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    los angeles, ca
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverage

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    new york, ny
  • Best Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    tampa, fl

Bottom DMAS

  • Worst Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    atlanta, ga
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    miami, fl
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    denver, co
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverages

    houston, tx
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    indianapolis, in
  • Worst Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    philadelphia, pa

As has been reported in recent months, restaurant guests in Florida's largest metropolitan areas tend to be among the most satisfied in the country. Orlando in particular stands out as being a very positive market when it comes to restaurant guest satisfaction. During December, restaurant guests in Orlando gave their highest net sentiment marks to restaurants based on their food, beverages and service. Orlando has had the highest service guest sentiment for the past three consecutive months. Furthermore, guests seem to be rewarding this positive restaurant sentiment with increasing sales. Among the largest metropolitan areas in the country, Orlando was the second highest during the fourth quarter based on average same-store sales growth. Within the top 25 largest markets in the country, the one with the highest net sentiment based on value was also in Florida. Guests in Tampa were the most satisfied with the value they received from restaurants during December. Not every market in Florida shares in those same positive vibes, however. Miami was ranked as the least positive in at least one of the guest satisfaction attributes tracked during every month of the fourth quarter.

Best & Worst Regions

Best
  • mountain plains33.5% Positive
  • western33.5% Positive
  • california33.2% Positive
Worst
  • southeast30.2% Positive
  • new england30.1% Positive
  • NY-NJ29.6% Positive

Restaurants doing business in the Mountain Plains and Western region typically encounter a more positive sentiment from their guests than restaurants in other regions of the country. The former, in particular, has led the country in most positive guest sentiment during 2017 and the trend continues into the new year. On the opposite end of that spectrum, guests in New York-New Jersey and the New England regions continue to have a less positive outlook regarding their restaurant experiences. Although the New York-New Jersey region had the lowest positive guest sentiment overall, the only individual guest satisfaction attribute in which it ranked as the worst was value. This would suggest guests in this region put a heavy weight on this attribute when judging their overall guest sentiment. In the case of New England, which was the second-lowest ranking region based on overall positive guest sentiment, the only individual attribute in which they rank last is on service. Both service and value have been found to be key differentiators between top and bottom performing restaurant brands based on same-store sales growth in recent quarters.

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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.