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Guests Focused on Restaurant Procedures that Ensure Safety

Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot™

Top 5 Restaurant Brands

Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Food

Food

  • Fleming's
  • Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar
  • Seasons 52
  • Firebirds Wood Fired Grill
  • The Capital Grille
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Service

Service

  • Fleming's
  • Smoothie King
  • Seasons 52
  • Eddie V's
  • Tupelo Honey Cafe
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Intent to Return

Intent to Return

  • Smoothie King
  • Seasons 52
  • The Capital Grille
  • Eddie V's
  • In-N-Out

Connecting the Dots on Performance

COVID-19: Early themes on social (March-early April) Fears of getting sick Impact on employees Surge in delivery
Key themes for recovery period (late April-May) Innovative solutions Focus on re-opening procedures Mask expectations

It is clear restaurant guest sentiment dropped sharply the moment the health crisis started expanding across the country and dining rooms began shutting down. But what is even more interesting is the themes that emerged from the online social chatter related to restaurants.

During the first phase of the pandemic, from early March to mid-April, consumers started perceiving a real threat for the first time, shelter-in place-orders were enacted and restaurants had to quickly adapt to the new off-premise-only environment. As this happened, guests initially focused more on their fear of getting sick. In early March guests were hyper-vigilant about the cleanliness practices at restaurants and started voicing what their clear expectations where when visiting a restaurant, like additional attention to cleanliness by all staff.

By late March, as restaurants began closing their doors and many employees were either laid-off or furloughed, an emerging theme on social media was a concern for those employees. In early April, the conversation shifted to delivery and off-premise offerings, which was not surprising given that this was the way guests were experiencing restaurants at that point. A recurring theme was guests stating they were trying new restaurant brands through delivery, and in many cases the result was positive. In fact, Black Box Guest Intelligence data showed an early improvement in delivery and off-premise sentiment, particularly in full-service restaurants during this stage.

By late April, restaurant guests had adapted to this “new normal” and the conversation shifted to those innovative initiatives restaurants took to boost their revenue while helping to meet an expanded set of their guests’ needs. Restaurant brands began receiving kudos from their guests for starting to sell grocery staples as part of their menus, as well as adapting their technologies and processes to enhance the off-premise ordering experience.

By early May, some major states started reopening their dining rooms and guests again started being laser-focused on cleanliness and how well restaurants were meeting their standards of social distancing. Many guests also declared a strong sentiment towards what they perceived to be restaurants reopening too soon.

As more and more restaurants opened their doors to dine-in guests one theme stood out, perhaps because of it being related to the most visible of COVID-19 prevention measures. There was a lot of chatter centered around the usage of masks in restaurants, especially worn by staff incorrectly. Guests were quick to call out instances in which masks were not covering the staff members nose, mouth or both. Guests also made it clear that they were checking restaurant websites to find out what their mask policies were beforehand and were vocal about singling out those cases in which those stated policies were not being followed.

Top DMAS

  • Best Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    raleigh, nc
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    raleigh, nc
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverage

    raleigh, nc
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    new york, ny

Bottom DMAS

  • Worst Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    detroit, mi
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    los angeles, ca
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    philadelphia, pa
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverages

    philadelphia, pa
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    los angeles, ca
  • Worst Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    los angeles, ca

One area in which there some relative normalcy could be found looking at the major markets with the most positive restaurant sentiment. As has been the case constantly in the past, Orlando, FL remains the major metropolitan area with some of the most positive restaurant guests in the country. During May, this market topped the list of most positive guest sentiment for restaurant food and ambiance.

What seems to be a new trend during the last couple of months as the country battles the pandemic is for consumers in the New York DMA to exhibit very strong sentiment based on restaurant value. Being one of the areas of the country hardest hit by the health crisis, it is welcome news for operators in this market that guests have an improved value perception as restaurants have adapted to this new environment.

Another area in which past trends have returned to normal can be found in markets with lowest guest sentiment. Los Angeles, and typically other major markets in California such as San Francisco, have proven to have some of the guests with the least positive restaurant sentiment in the past. In May, Los Angeles held the position of lowest guest sentiment based on restaurant service, ambiance and value.

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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.