Full-Service restaurants are now scoring higher in customer satisfaction than Quick Service restaurants. Even though Texas Roadhouse has raised menu prices, customers still rate it highest in overall satisfaction.
Last year, full-service brands enjoyed a solid leap in the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s restaurant report, jumping 3.8 percent and retaking the top spot from quick service.
While most full-serves can’t compete with counter-service chains on speed, convenience, and price, losing on customer service was unacceptable.
Full-serves have transformed to meeting a changing consumer. This means healthier menu offerings and digital technologies that complement the experience.
In the latest ACSI study, a poll of 23,468 customers revealed a few positive trends.
Food order accuracy came in at a stellar 89 (it was 86 for quick service).
Speed of service reported 83, which shows room for improvement but was still a solid figure considering quick-serves clocked 82.
Service and staff being helpful and courteous posted 87. Two years ago, it was 84.
Food quality did drop a bit to 85, suggesting whitespace for brands to innovate their menus to best competitors.
Measured for the first time this year, mobile apps rated well on reliability (86) and quality (84).
The restaurant industry continues to face challenges, from added competition to staffing shortages. Traffic is down, but spending is mostly up.
Since the fourth quarter of 2019, guest check growth has accelerated, likely from chains raising menu prices, among other factors, like kiosks and mobile ordering.
The No. 1 chain—once again—is one of those brands raising prices, but keeping its pulse on the customer experience. And it doesn’t seem to be affecting value whatsoever. Texas Roadhouse stayed at 83, topping Cracker Barrel (81).
In the chain’s 5.2 percent same-store sales climb this past quarter, 2.6 percent came from traffic and 2.6 percent came from an increase in average check.
It will be interesting to see if next year’s ACSI reflects any of the changes, but for now, customers remain satisfied by Texas Roadhouse’s menu, price, and service—above the rest of the pack.