bbiRESTAURANT INDUSTRY SNAPSHOT: Click here to subscribe today and get one month for FREE

Sales Recovery and Rising Guest Satisfaction Add Momentum to Restaurant Industry Rebound

Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot™

Top 5 Restaurant Brands

Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Food

Food

  • Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar
  • Eddie V's
  • Seasons 52
  • Cooper's Hawk Winery
  • True Food Kitchen
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Service

Service

  • Eddie V's
  • Seasons 52
  • Cooper's Hawk Winery
  • The Capital Grille
  • Fleming's
Best Restaurants Rated Socially for Intent to Return

Intent to Return

  • Eddie V's
  • Seasons 52
  • The Capital Grille
  • Fleming's
  • Tupelo Honey Cafe

Connecting the Dots on Performance

Favorite menu items for Quick Service
Favorite menu items for Casual Dining

Online “food” reviews have revealed that most guests are satisfied with restaurant meals. But what are the menu items that are driving this positive sentiment the most? Which items are getting the most positive mentions in those reviews? Not surprisingly, the answer to these questions varies widely between the industry’s two largest segments.

Quick service has been outperforming the industry since the beginning of the pandemic. A big driver behind their superior results is the historically higher mix of off-premise meals, which became a huge strength in the COVID era. “Pizza” from QSR brands generated the most positive online reviews and mentions during January and February. This has typically been a cuisine geared towards off-premise consumption so naturally it has been thriving in the current environment.

Guest affinity toward “chicken” and the popularity of “chicken sandwiches” came through loud and clear in online guest sentiment. These menu items were the second most mentioned when guests rated positive food experiences at quick service restaurants in the first two months of the year. Rounding off the top-3 in these restaurants we find “fries”, another staple of QSR menu.

For casual dining restaurants, guest preferences were reflective of the pent-up demand for the full restaurant experience which has been scarce in recent months. “Steak” received the most positive mentions in January and February, an item usually associated with higher price full-service experience and meals on specials.

“Shrimp” was the third most mentioned item with positive sentiment. Like “steak”, it is commonly a higher-ticket menu item. Sales are improving for restaurants and consumers seem to be more optimistic about their outlook. This is reflected in their menu orders and what foods they are highlighting in their reviews.

Online menu mentions also signal guests being more health-conscious at the beginning of a new year as they follow through their resolutions. “Salads” were the second most positively mentioned item in casual dining during January and February.

Top DMAS

  • Best Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    orlando, fl
  • Best Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    orlando, fl
  • 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

    los angeles, ca

Bottom DMAS

  • Worst Restaurant Food DMA

    Food

    raleigh, nc
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Service

    raleigh, nc
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Intent to Return

    cleveland, oh
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Beverages

    philadelphia, pa
  • Worst Restaurant Service DMA

    Ambiance

    cleveland, oh
  • Worst Restaurant Value DMA

    Value

    philadelphia, pa

Orlando, Florida was the major metropolitan area with the most positive restaurant sentiment based on “food”, “beverage” and “service” in February. The Orlando market has consistently had the most positive sentiment in multiple attributes of the restaurant experience. What is more interesting, perhaps, is what happened with the other three attributes in February.

Among the 25 major markets of the country, New York, Los Angeles and Sacramento were included in the five with the worst same-store sales growth. But New York and Sacramento had the highest restaurant “intent to return” sentiment. Los Angeles is in the top 7 of markets based on positive sentiment on this key metric. Los Angeles was the major market with the most positive restaurant “value” sentiment, followed by New York.

Despite the steep challenges restaurants face in these markets, many operators are stepping up and meeting their guests’ expectations. This can be a sign of restaurant guests continuing to rally behind restaurants online with positive reviews to help lift them from this crisis. Restaurants in some markets are still behind in the road to bring the full restaurant experience back to their guests, but better times are ahead for the industry overall.

Be the first to know of future Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshots

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot (RGSS) is produced by data from Black Box Guest Intelligence™. Guest Intelligence is tracking over 190 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 data set focuses on six key attributes of the restaurant industry experience: food, service, ambiance, beverage, value and intent to return.

The RGSS algorithm determines the highest ranking brands based on sentiment. 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.

Webinar Registration

You have Successfully Subscribed!