Restaurant guest sentiment related to food and service became more positive during February of 2017 when compared with the same month of the previous year. As was also the case during January, the attribute with the biggest year-over-year improvement in positive sentiment was service. However, positive sentiment based on guests' intent to return to specific brands declined slightly year-over-year during February. "Intent to return" sentiment also became less positive during January. In a chain restaurant industry that has been struggling with falling guest counts for years, this is definitely not what restaurant brands would like to hear.
According to TDn2K's Black Box Intelligence, guest perception of value became a key differentiator between the top and bottom performers during the first months of 2017. Not surprisingly, lunch sales reflect restaurant guest satisfaction based on the perceived value of their meals. For people eating out for their mid-workday meals, it makes sense for value to be a key attribute. Those restaurant brands that scored worse in terms of their negative perception of value tended to have lower lunch same-store sales than their competitors.
Consumer preferences have shifted over the last few years and breakfast has become a great source of opportunity for restaurant sales growth. TDn2K analysis has shown that those brands that are greatly underperforming their peers based on breakfast same-store sales growth tend to have less positive reviews on Google. Restaurant consumers have embraced this day part and it seems that those restaurant brands that have capitalized on it the most tend to be perceived more favorably by their guests.
Guests in the Mountain Plains and Florida regions tended to score higher in restaurant guest satisfaction during the first two months of the year, with Mountain Plains being the region with the highest positive sentiment during both January and February. On the other hand, the Southwest region has now been at the bottom of positive restaurant guest sentiment for two consecutive months.
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.