California Pizza Most-Recommended Casual Chain
California Pizza Kitchen and Texas Roadhouse top the list when it comes to most-recommended casual dining restaurants, according to a new index from the Zócalo Group and M/A/R/C Research.
The Recommendation Index, designed to span consumer product categories, is based on both online and offline analyses of consumer brand recommendations. For the casual dining sector, a representative group of 1,020 patrons of that format were asked which brands they most often recommend or comment negatively about, and the attributes they use to make their recommendations. Conversations in blogs, forums, Twitter and other online forums about the most-mentioned brands were then analyzed. The index, to be released quarterly for various categories, represents the relationship between the volumes of positive and negative recommendations/comments.
The average index among the 10 most-recommended casual dining brands was 3.01. California Pizza led with an index of 4.57 (4.57 positive recommendations for every negative one), followed by Texas Roadhouse (3.61), Outback Steakhouse (3.16), Applebee's (3.04), Cheesecake Factory (3.03), Red Robin (3.01), Red Lobster (2.79), Olive Garden (2.77), Chili's Grill & Bar (2.71) and TGI Friday's (2.63).
The most important criteria/words driving positive consumer recommendations of casual dining restaurants included (in no particular order): good food, price, fast, atmosphere, variety, friendly, reasonable, value, fresh and quick.
The index's creators aren't revealing the worst-ranked chains. However, the criteria/words most associated with negative comments were (again, in no particular order): slow, greasy, don't like, poor (quality), dirty, too expensive, wouldn't go there, terrible, wrong (as in, got the order wrong) and sick (got sick from the food).
"At minimum, casual restaurant brand marketers had better be sure that their brands are delivering on the top positive criteria named by consumers," Zócalo Group president/CEO Paul M. Rand stressed to Marketing Daily. "And since a negative recommendation is five to eight times more powerful than a positive one, it may be even more critical to make sure your brand isn't guilty of having the most-cited negatives."
California Pizza Kitchen and the other best-ranked were not only most associated with positive criteria mentions, but least associated with the negative ones, he points out.