By Carissa Chesanek, Contributing Editor
There are plenty of casual dining brands to choose from but only a select few that reach topnotch status. Wowing the customers of today can be a challenge for many establishments, including the fast casual eateries. However, there are several brands that get it right time and time again, satisfying their customers to the highest standards.
With our Foodable Labs' data, we were able to determine which casual dining brands came out on top. The overall score of each brand is based from a total of 500 and made up of five tracking categories: sentiment, influence, engagement, location-based actions, and mobile engagement.
When looking at the latest findings in the Foodable Labs' data, we found three casual dining brands that have topped the charts. And here’s why.
Buffalo Wild Wings - Score: 465.55
The mix of casual dining and lively sports bar, makes for a good vibe at Buffalo Wild Wings and can probably attribute to some of the franchise’s high score. With locations found throughout the United States, United Arab Emirates, and Mexico, the company is serving up their well-known wings (and other pub grub items) to customers all over the globe.
And speaking of the wings (which are hand-spun and come in bone-in or boneless), these signature creations are also helping driving the customers in - and keeping them coming back. With a wide variety of sauces and rubs (think: spicy garlic, lemon pepper, and mango habanero), just about anyone can get what they’re in the mood for.
Offering limited-time items doesn’t hurt either, like the mandarin kick wing sauce and Leinenkugel’s Summer Shady beer. The brand also offers rotating promotions coinciding with current games and shells out a speedy lunch menu that are guaranteed to be ready in only 15 minutes or else it’s free.
Matchbox - Score: 460.86
No matter which Matchbox location you go to, the interior is always relaxed and homey, which is a big selling point for the customers looking for a chill vibe. And each building boasts its own history, creating a unique design structure.
“At each location, we’ve embodied the history of the buildings and brought them back to life,” says the company’s website. “This allowed us to utilize the original materials of the structures and provided the framework for our sustainable approach. It also provides a dining experience that reflects an authentic, real and true space.”
The classic American fare helps add to the overall comfortable feel, offering a menu of burgers, shrimp and grits, and short ribs. But the big winner here is the pizza.
According to the company’s website, “the artisanal pizza served at matchbox begins with the brick oven packed with a blend of wood that gives each its unique flavor. The high temperature of the oven allows the dough to become crispier in a shorter amount of time, creating the thin, crispy crust that has become the signature of Matchbox pizzas.”
With a huge selection of gourmet pies, ranging from traditional (topped with mozzarella and pepperoni) to signature (with prosciutto and fig), there’s plenty to pick from and at different sizes, too (small or large).
Pair the food with the rustic vibe and you have a place where you want to linger. Hanging out at the bar sipping cocktails is a favorite past time for many, especially during the weekly happy hour where you can score $5 drafts and $7 signature cocktails.
Hard Rock Cafe - Score: 453.22
This chain is known to entertain its guests with walls lined in rock-and-roll artifacts that you have to stop and see. The Hard Rock Cafe first came about in London during the early 70s and has since grown into a successful and fun establishment all around the globe today, with locations in the United States, the Middle East, and the Caribbean.
With a full line-up of entertainment, something is always going on no matter when you decide to walk in. Between live music and happy hour, there’s a little something for everyone and helps beat the monotony of everyday routines.
And the food is complete comfort with nachos and flatbreads to devour or those well-known burgers like the cheeseburger made with Jameson-infused bacon jam and a cheesy Guinness sauce. The dessert lovers rejoice over the monster ice cream sundaes and apple cobbler (which is homemade) that definitely satisfies any sweet tooth craving.
The Hard Rock Cafe also has a special rewards program that allows its members to save extra cash. Everything from priority seating to your next big concert, to a free hotel stay makes for joining this program worthwhile - and might be one of the many reasons this chain is so popular with its customers.