Special Report

Restaurant Chains With the Happiest Customers

Source: igboo / Flickr

Hungry Howie’s
> Category: Pizza chains
> Score: 8.55/10

This 45-year-old pizza purveyor maintains a database of about 4 million customers — and responds to guests’ comments or complaints within 24 hours. The company knows when customers stop ordering regularly and then suggests an escalating series of promotional offers to win back their business.

Source: Mr. Blue MauMau / Flickr

> Category: Pizza chains
> Score: 8.21/10

The fast-growing Marco’s chain now has more than 900 stores in 35 states and four countries. In 2017, it ranked first in the pizza category in Market Force’s survey of customer favorites. Last year, it dropped to third place in the overall pizza ranking, as well as third in staff friendliness, food quality, overall cleanliness, and curb appeal.

Source: Michael Gray / Flickr

Morton’s The Steakhouse
> Category: Upscale chain restaurants
> Score: 9.02/10

This fine dining chain in 2016 upgraded staff training procedures, introduced new menu items (including some lower-priced choices), and upgraded beverage options. The same year, it was the top-scoring fine dining chain in the Nation’s Restaurant News Consumer Picks survey. Its score of 9.02/10 in the Newsweek study is the second highest in any category measured, after fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, which scored 9.11/10.

Source: John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

The Capital Grille
> Category: Upscale chain restaurants
> Score: 8.86/10

This upscale steakhouse chain took 23rd place out of 50 in the Nation’s Restaurant News Consumer Picks survey. Whether or not its participation in the rewards program run by its parent company helped customer loyalty remains to be seen, but the chain announced that as of March 1 of this year it was no longer taking part in the program.

Source: jeepersmedia / Flickr

Ruth’s Chris Steak House
> Category: Upscale chain restaurants
> Score: 8.67/10

The Nation’s Restaurant News 2018 Consumer Picks survey ranked Ruth’s Chris sixth in brand loyalty based on respondents who reported that they visited restaurants specifically to experience the brand, not just because they were convenient — and was the only fine dining establishment in the top 20.