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Rising Guest Expectations Contribute to Waning Guest Sentiment

Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot™

Top 5 Restaurant Brands

Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Food

Food

  • Mendocino Farms Sandwich Market
  • Eddie V's Prime Seafood
  • The Capital Grille
  • Seasons 52
  • True Food Kitchen
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Service

Service

  • Trulucks
  • The Capital Grille
  • Eddie V's Prime Seafood
  • Seasons 52
  • Fish City Grill
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Intent to Return

Intent to Return

  • Seasons 52
  • Eddie V's Prime Seafood
  • The Capital Grille
  • Fleming's Steakhouse
  • PDQ

Connecting the Dots on Performance

The top net-sentiment differentiator was
Top performing brands had 7.7% lower management turnover when compared to bottom performing brands.

Service has remained key to restaurant success over the last few years. Regardless of industry segment or service style, quarter after quarter guests have shown through their sales dollars and incremental visits that those restaurant companies that excel at service tend to be those doing better in the marketplace.

The latest Black Box Intelligence data revealed that during Q4 of 2019, service guest sentiment was the attribute that most differentiated top and bottom performing brands based on same-store sales.

Restaurants companies in the top 25% of same-store sales growth had a service net sentiment 17.4 percentage points more positive than those in the bottom 25% of sales growth. This spread in service scores reflects a substantially different perception in the service provided by those two sets of companies.

As clear as that relationship between service, sales and traffic may be, most restaurants are facing enormous challenges when it comes to recruiting and retention of employees that are negatively impacting the experiences they are able to provide their guests. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that those restaurant companies that have the highest sales growth rates (and much better service scores), also have substantially better employee retention.

During Q4 of 2019, those restaurants in the top quartile of sales performance had management turnover rates that were, on average, 7.7 percentage points lower than those with the worst sales growth results.

Top DMAS

  • Best Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    new york, ny
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    new york, ny
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverage

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    new york, ny
  • Best Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    orlando, fl

Bottom DMAS

  • Worst Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    san francisco, ca
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    san francisco, ca
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    raleigh, nc
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverages

    minneapolis, mn
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    charlotte, nc
  • Worst Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    raleigh, nc

Among the top 25 largest markets in the country, which had the most positive restaurant guest sentiment during December? The question is answered partially by a market that has proven to be home to some of the most positive restaurant guests: Orlando, Florida. It is common to find this DMA topping the list every month. In December, it was the market with the highest sentiment based on restaurant food, beverages, and value.

The second part of the answer is a little more surprising. The New York DMA has emerged in recent months as having a stronger positive sentiment. During December, New York's guests gave the highest marks based on restaurant service, ambiance and intent to return.

The Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot is produced by data from Guest Intelligence™, a Black Box Intelligence Product™. Guest Intelligence 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 Black Box Guest 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.