Coronavirus: Click Here for the Latest Data Updates from Black Box Intelligence

Restaurants Start Year Strong with Positive Service Sentiment & Sales

Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot™

Top 5 Restaurant Brands

Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Food

Food

  • Mendocino Farms
  • California Fish Grill
  • The Capital Grille
  • Eddie V's
  • Fish City Grill & Half Shells
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Service

Service

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

Intent to Return

  • Fish City Grill & Half Shells
  • The Capital Grille
  • Seasons 52
  • Eddie V's
  • Firebirds Wood Fired Grill

Connecting the Dots on Performance

Restaurant brands that were able to grow traffic in 2019 had same-store sales growth 4.4 pp higher than the rest of the industry
How did these top brands differentiate from the rest? Brands that grew traffic had 19pt higher net sentiment around

For the last 10 years, chain restaurants have faced a persistent erosion in their guest counts year over year. With established restaurants adding locations at an accelerated pace and new brands coming into the marketplace continuously, the restaurant industry is over-built and restaurant visits are diluted over a larger base of possible options. Although the norm is for restaurant brands to see declining traffic growth, there are some that are bucking the trend and growing their guest counts. The latest Black Box Intelligence research on “The Best” performance brands revealed there are restaurants that have been able to consistently grow their traffic over the last 2 years. These brands that achieved positive traffic growth last year outperformed the rest of the industry by 4.4 percentage points in their same-store sales.

Upon a deeper dive into what these brands are doing to set themselves apart, an interesting finding emerged. Those restaurant brands growing their guest counts are much better at providing a well-rounded, overall experience to their guests. When measuring the guest net sentiment around the restaurant "experience,” restaurants with positive traffic growth outperformed the rest of the industry by a significant 19 percentage points. This suggests that regardless of industry segment and service style, guests will likely reward a superior experience with incremental restaurant visits and dollars spent.

Top DMAS

  • Best Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverage

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    philadelphia, pa

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

    san francisco, ca
  • Beverages

    seattle, wa
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    san francisco, ca
  • Value

    seattle, wa

One of the most persistent trends in restaurant guest sentiment remained intact during January: Orlando consistently tops the list of major markets based on positive restaurant guest sentiment. San Francisco is frequently among the markets where restaurant guests are the least positive when rating their dining experiences.

Orlando had the guests with highest net sentiment based on restaurant food, beverage, service, ambiance and intent to return in January. However, Philadelphia was the major metropolitan area with the highest net sentiment based on restaurant value.

In the case of San Francisco's restaurant guests, they expressed having the lowest net sentiment when rating or discussing restaurant food, service, ambiance and intent to return. Rounding up the list of least positive sentiment was another west coast DMA. Seattle's restaurant guests were the least positive on restaurant beverages and value during January.

Best & Worst Regions

Best
  • florida64.5% Positive
  • western60.6% Positive
  • texas60.0% Positive
Worst
  • california56.1% Positive
  • new england55.7% Positive
  • ny-nj54.0% Positive

Restaurants operating in 3 regions of the country achieved over 60% of guest reviews and mentions classified as positive during the month. These 3 regions with the highest restaurant guest sentiment were Florida, the Western region and Texas.

California, New England and New York-New Jersey were the regions with the lowest restaurant guest sentiment. The 2 latter regions are frequently mentioned as having the guests with the lowest sentiment when referring to their restaurant experiences. The fact that competition is fierce in these regions and consumers have many options to choose from when it comes to food-away-from-home (both from chain and independent restaurants) could be the factor leading to higher expectations that are harder to meet than in other parts of the country.

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 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.