National Top 25 Restaurants: Q1 2016

While our monthly city-level Top 25 Restaurant rankings focus on local markets, our National Top 25, pulled quarterly, has always reflected the social rankings of bigger guys in the game — the more recognizable and usually more widespread "chains.” We use that term loosely because it seems to have a stigma surrounding big business, which isn’t necessarily the case — at least, not anymore.

As the food industry evolves, we are seeing more ingredient-forward, eco-conscious, and even chef-driven concepts climb up the rankings. Last quarter, Panera Bread ranked No. 1, most likely because of its “Food As It Should Be” movement.

In Q1 2016, however, Panera tumbled to No. 3, with Wendy’s taking the top spot. There are probably multiple reasons why Wendy’s jumped from No. 4 to No. 1, but it could have something to do with the brand's Twitter “feud” with Burger King after Wendy’s tweeted its new “4 for $4 deal,” a speculated play off of BK’s “5 for $4 deal.” Burger King subtweeted a post that read, “5 for $4, because 5 is better than 4.” When a customer tweeted Wendy’s asking, “What are you firing back?," the Wendy's team replied, “edible food.” Some would say these are fighting words, but the tweet received more love than they might’ve imagined, with over 35K likes and and more than 26K retweets.

How It Works

Through Foodable Labs, in partnership with our sister company DigitalCoCo’s proprietary Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI), we track sentiment, engagement, influence, mobile, and location-based actions from more than 151M U.S. social restaurant consumers in the U.S. across 17 social platforms. There are currently more than 21K restaurant brands indexed in over 500K locations. 

While quarterly sales are obviously important, the core of everything in the restaurant & hospitality industry comes down to what consumers are saying — and whether they're taking action — in relation to your brand.

What other brands made Q1’s rankings? Check below for the full list! 

#1 Wendy's

#1 Wendy's

#4 Starbucks

#4 Starbucks

#2 Chick-fil-A

#2 Chick-fil-A

#5 Shake Shack

#5 Shake Shack

#3 Panera Bread

#3 Panera Bread

RANK Restaurant Social Score VIDEO
1 Wendy's 472.54  
2 Chick-fil-A 466.64 Play Video
3 Panera Bread 465.46  
4 Starbucks 464.41 Play Video
5 Shake Shack 459.43 Play Video
6 Taco Bell 457.32  
7 Sonic Drive-In 454.41  
8 Dunkin' Donuts 446.84  
9 Arby's 445.56  
10 Tender Greens 444.72 Play Video
11 Buffalo Wild Wings 444.54  
12 In-N-Out Burger 442.76  
13 Red Robin Gourmet Burgers 437.52  
14 Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill 432.87 Play Video
15 Firehouse Subs 432.68 Play Video
16 McAlister's Deli 431.49 Play Video
17 Jersey Mike's Subs 430.33 Play Video
18 Sweetgreen 430.12 Play Video
19 Noodles & Company 429.25  
20 Jimmy John's 429.19  
21 Habit Burger Grill 425.94 Play Video
22 Greenleaf Gourmet Chop Shop 425.30 Play Video
23 Veggie Grill 424.47 Play Video
24 Modern Market 422.55 Play Video
25 Pizza Hut 422.35