During January, year-over-year positive guest sentiment increased regarding the food and service attributes of the restaurant experience. Service was the attribute with the biggest positive jump in sentiment. This should be good news for restaurant brands, since TDn2K research has shown that service is the attribute that most distinguished top and bottom performing brands over the last 3 years. However, when guests directly addressed their intent to return to specific brands, sentiment became more negative than it was a year ago during January. In the current environment of falling year-over-year guest counts, the fact that fewer people are saying they'll return is not surprising.
Management turnover has been found to be a key metric of restaurant performance. In a recent study, TDn2K's White Box Social Intelligence established that the effect of improved management retention has a positive effect throughout the restaurant that seems to be impacting execution and increasing guest satisfaction regarding food quality. Over the last few years, breakfast has been the day part that has offered the most same-store sales growth opportunities for restaurants. The data shows that those brands with the highest positive guest satisfaction scores tend to outperform the rest of the industry based on breakfast sales growth.
For the eleven regions of the country, on average only 42 percent of all online restaurant mentions reflected a positive sentiment. However, guests in the Mountain Plains region had a significantly more positive sentiment during January. Guests in the New York/New Jersey region were tough on restaurants during the month: only 38 percent of all online guest mentions during January expressed a positive sentiment towards the restaurant brand.
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.