This is part of NRN’s 2012 Consumer Picks special report, produced in partnership with WD Partners. The study rates top restaurant chains based on customer preferences. Visit Consumer Picks on NRN.com for more information. For the full report, including detailed rankings on the more than 100 chains, see the Aug. 6 issue of Nation’s Restaurant News.
The Consumer Picks survey was developed by WD Partners’ Consumer Insights group to provide relative benchmark ratings on major attributes across restaurant brands.
Respondents, who participated online, were given a list of 171 restaurant chains organized into groups depending on service model and the respondent’s geographic location.
They were asked:
• To identify which restaurants they had patronized in the last six months, or since Dec. 15, 2011. This time frame increased the likelihood of reasonable recall and ensured that respondents would represent a broader range of consumers and not just a brand’s frequent users.
• How many times they visited a brand during that time period: one to two, or three or more times.
• To rate their experiences for up to eight of the restaurants they had patronized in the last six months.
Responses were scrubbed for inconsistent answers; straight lining, or selecting the same response repeatedly; and excessive haste in completing the questionnaire. This reduced the number of acceptable responses to 5,346 from 6,328.
Accepted respondents reported approximately 130,000 restaurant visits over the last six months, which resulted in more than 41,000 restaurant ratings of the 171 restaurant chains.
Nineteen of the 171 restaurants had fewer than 100 ratings and are not included in this report. The remaining 152 restaurant chains yielded 40,782 ratings.
Twenty of the 152 chains had between 100 and 149 ratings and are included in this report, but are marked with a double asterisk to indicate they received less than the desired quota of 150 ratings.
Consequently, 132 chains were rated by at least 150 respondents, with 101 of them rated by more than 200 respondents.
WD Partners worked with Survey Sampling International, which supplied panel respondents, and SurveyGizmo, which provided the survey administration software.
Results are shown as the percentage of top-two-box ratings received, based on a standard five-box scale. Overall Scores are a weighted average of attribute scores as calculated using their respective customer-reported importance ratings.
The survey addresses 10 attributes: Atmosphere, Cleanliness, Craveability, Food Quality, Likely to Recommend, Likely to Return, Menu Variety, Reputation, Service and Value.
Demographic information on the respondents was obtained to align the survey results with the U.S. population based on 2010 Census and 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.
As in all surveys of this type, closely ranked restaurant chains should be considered statistically equivalent.
Data is available for purchase, and additional survey results such as percentage of top-box scores and custom data analysis are available by contacting Dennis.Lombardi@WDPartners.com.
WD Partners is a Dublin, Ohio-based firm specializing in the customer experience that helps global food and retail brands innovate through strategy and design. Research conducted by WD Partners’ Insights group is part of the company’s integrated approach to enhancing the performance of foodservice brands.