Photo: xrrr, Flickr
When it comes to picking a favorite casual-dining restaurant, customers look to experience, convenience and food quality. But what restaurants make the grade?
According to a survey done by Boulder, Colo.-based Market Force, customers put The Cheesecake Factory on top, Nation's Restaurant News reported.
The Cheesecake Factory earned 6 percent of the favorite-restaurant vote, but when weighted for number of locations per chain, the tally rose to 13 percent, making it the clear winner. Market Force surveyed 5,000 people between 18 and 72 years old, 76 percent of which were women, NRN reported.
In addition to getting top marks as the overall favorite, The Cheesecake Factory also got the highest scores in 6 out of 10 categories, which included food taste and quality, atmosphere and cleanliness.
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers ranked second in the favorite-restaurant vote and topped the speed of service and kid friendliness categories, NRN reported. Texas Roadhouse, when ranked for system size, tied with Red Robin with 8 percent of the favorite-restaurant vote.
Olive Garden and Ruby Tuesday got the third-highest scores with 5 percent of the favorite-restaurant vote.
Cracker Barrel was the most popular family chain by total number of votes, NRN reported.
The survey also found that more customers are planning on eating out in the next several months. Only 8 percent said they plan to cut back on restaurant spending. A survey six months ago found that about half of the respondents planned to eat out less, NRN reported.
Thirty-eight percent said they dined out for a great-tasting meal, meaning food quality is important to customers, Market Force said.
Of those surveyed, 52 percent said they dine at casual- or family-dining restaurants to spend time with family and friends. Thirty-seven percent said they went for special occasions and 41 percent said they went because they were too tired to cook.
We asked Slashfood readers what their favorite restaurant chain was and it was interesting to see how the results differed from those reported by Market Force. With a list of eight chain restaurants (see the poll below), at the last tally Outback Steakhouse took the prize with almost 5,000 votes -- 24% of the total vote.
Cheesecake Factory found itself in second place with 3,700 votes, but it was only .5% ahead of the family chain Cracker Barrel, which got 3,600 votes. Applebee's was just around the corner in fourth place with 2,600 votes.
|California Pizza Kitchen||4016 (7.3%)|
|The Cheesecake Factory||14756 (26.9%)|
|Cracker Barrel||8365 (15.2%)|
|Outback Steakhouse||12247 (22.3%)|
|Ruby Tuesday||3374 (6.1%)|
|T.G.I. Friday's||4042 (7.4%)|