Some restaurant brands get the whole customer experience thing better than others. Chatmeter, a customer experience platform for multi-location brands, has just released a report, Top Restaurant Brands of 2021, that identifies 10 brands that deliver the best experiences, based on a review of listings, reviews, and rankings over the past year.
Chatmeter devised a proprietary scoring methodology it calls the local brand visibility (LBV) score. A high LBV score indicates that a brand is, according to a summary of the report, “going above and beyond to acquire and retain brand loyal customers through local search optimization. Brands that prioritize responding to reviews and maintaining listing accuracy typically have better insight into the true customer experience.”
The report analyzed 75 U.S. restaurant brands. breaks down restaurants. It divided them into small, mid-size, and large based on the number of locations. The rankings were based on a combination of the LBV and online reputation.
So apparently, the report didn’t include deliciousness among its many criteria. Familiar brands that produced some of the highest LBV scores include Arby’s, Chick-fil-A, Noodles & Company, Bob Evans, Roosters, and Fogo de Chao.
“Chatmeter’s Local Brand Reports serve not only as benchmarks for the industry, but they show brands how their local SEO and reputation management efforts can impact the customer experience,” said Chatmeter CRO Cynthia Sener.
“In our latest report, Top Restaurant Brands of 2021, our findings show that almost every brand in the top 10 is going above and beyond to provide the best possible online and offline experience. Whether it’s responding to reviews or protecting their listing accuracy, these brands understand the value of creating an effortless customer journey.”
Key Finding — Small Brands Rule
Apparently, size isn’t everything. At least when it comes to customer sentiment. Here are some of the report’s key findings, from the Chatmeter summary.
- The average LBV score for the industry was 62, representing an above-average score.
- The highest scoring LBV category was listings with an average of 81. Every market size earned an average score of over 70 — reflective of an industry leader.
- Small brands (under 50 locations) earned the highest average overall review rating at 4.3 stars.
- The percent of positive customer sentiment found in reviews increased by nearly 10% as the size of the brand decreased. Large brands had 65.8% positive, mid-size was 74.7% positive, and small came in at 83.1% positive.
The report also examines how consumer sentiment was shaped by new COVID-related customer experiences. One interesting tidbit is that outdoor seating and curbside pickup generated more positive buzz than experiences tied to home delivery.
We can guess a few reasons for this. One is that the former experiences involve more human contact and opportunities to leave the house. And of course, many of us craved this during the depths of lockdown. Another possibility is that customers may have seen these measures as examples of restaurants showing an extra effort.
“The pandemic has put restaurant brands through a lot the past year and a half. The brands at the top of this list have been working relentlessly to keep up with changing customer expectations,” Sener said.