A ranking of top restaurant chains is nice, but what's even better? The accompanying marketing boost that TripAdvisor gets for its fast-growing business unit: restaurants and experiences.
— Erika Adams
Darden Restaurants, Bloomin’ Brands, Ruth’s Hospitality Group, and the Cheesecake Factory run the top restaurant chains in America, according to travel discovery site TripAdvisor.
The company examined hundreds of restaurant chains across the U.S. with a presence on its platform to find the top ten most highly rated and reviewed chains across three separate categories: small chains (10 to 50 locations listed on TripAdvisor), medium chains (51-100 locations), and large chains (101 or more locations). The chains were graded on the quality, quantity, and recency of reviews of all of their locations on TripAdvisor over a twelve month period from December 2017 through November 2018.
Darden Restaurants, the parent company of Eddie V’s, Seasons 52, and the Capital Grille, took the top spot in two out of the three categories, while Ruth’s Chris Steak House (owned by Ruth Hospitality Group) won out in the large chain category.
“Chain restaurants are integral to the American dining experience as they offer consumers convenient and satisfying meals for all occasions,” Bertrand Jelensperger, senior vice president for TripAdvisor Restaurants, said in a statement. “For the first time, TripAdvisor is ranking restaurant chains that provide exemplary food, service and value to diners. Every company featured in these rankings should be proud of the recognition they are receiving from TripAdvisor’s community of millions of travelers and locals searching our site for a great place to eat.”
TripAdvisor Restaurants Growth
The restaurant list franchises that TripAdvisor has been rolling out with increasing frequency are part of a overall effort to draw more attention to the company’s restaurants business. The restaurants and experiences sector has been driving high double-digit revenue growth for the company this year.
The category boasts an attractive low-cost, high-profit business model, which relies on selling premium subscription and advertising products to the millions of restaurants on its platform.
“The fundamentals for both our experiences business and restaurants are quite strong,” TripAdvisor’s chief financial officer Ernst Teunissen said on the company’s most recent earnings call. “The commission levels are good, and so the long-term margin structure for this business is very healthy and can reach levels that we have seen in the hotel business as well.”
TripAdvisor has been snapping up delivery partnerships with national players as well, ensuring more visibility for the platform as it builds up its U.S. user base.
“Experiences is hugely untapped and restaurants is hugely untapped for us,” TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer said at a travel industry conference in November. “You will see a lot of focus on that from us in the future.”
Top Ten Small Chains
1. Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
2. Seasons 52
4. Ocean Prime
5. J. Alexander’s
6. Fogo de Chão
7. Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen
8. Half Shell Oyster House
9. Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano
10. Maggiano’s Little Italy
Top Ten Medium Chains
1. The Capital Grille
2. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
3. Texas de Brazil
4. Yard House
5. BRIO Tuscan Grille
7. Morton’s The Steakhouse
8. The Melting Pot
9. Sweet Tomatoes
10. Another Broken Egg Cafe
Top 10 Large Chains
1. Ruth’s Chris Steak House
2. The Cheesecake Factory
3. Bonefish Grill
4. Texas Roadhouse
5. Mellow Mushroom
6. In-N-Out Burger
7. First Watch The Daytime Cafe
8. Jason’s Deli
9. Corner Bakery Cafe
10. Blaze Pizza
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