Let’s take a look at the eight leaders in this category.
Steak 48: With eight locations and two more coming, this restaurant concept has its own in-house butcher and features prime steaks, a raw bar, fresh seafood and more. Steak 48 is a family-run, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based steakhouse founded by Dennis Mastro, his sons Jeffrey and Michael Mastro, and Scotty Troilo. The family is known for founding Los Angeles-based Mastro’s Restaurants, which was purchased by Landry’s in 2013. With a 4.72 rating, it is the highest-ranked fine-dining concept according to Merchant Centric data, buoyed by strong scores on food, staff demeanor/dedication, and accuracy. Notably, Steak 48 increased its scores year-over-year by .04, and is .18 higher than its all-time average rating.
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood: With just over 30 locations, this Orlando-based company is known for its fresh seafood, as well as its USDA prime steaks, hand cut and aged for more than 28 days. Eddie V’s score of 4.69 is a slight decline from 4.7 during the previous year but remains 0.04 above its all-time average rating. This concept also ranks high on food and staff demeanor/dedication. It is the highest ranked in the category for loyalty and referral.
Truluck’s Ocean’s Finest Seafood and Crab: Texas-based Truluck’s has about a dozen locations featuring high-quality, sustainable seafood, as well as produce from local growers whenever possible. The concept scored a 4.66 — 0.03 higher than the previous year and 0.05 higher than its all-time average rating. Scores were particularly high for staff demeanor and dedication.
The Capital Grille: Florida-based The Capital Grille has been a part of Darden Brands since 2007 and now counts about 65 locations specializing in dry-aged beef, fresh seafood and a robust wine list. Capital Grille is fourth in the category with a 4.65 rating, 0.05 higher than the previous year and 0.07 higher than its all-time average rating. This concept scored high for staff demeanor and dedication, as well as for order accuracy.
Ocean Prime: Ocean Prime, a Cameron Mitchell concept with about 20 locations, specializes in seafood, steaks, and cocktails. This concept scored a 4.60, slightly (0.03) below the previous year but 0.01 ahead of its all-time rating. Ocean Prime has the second-highest score in the category for staff demeanor.
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar: Fleming’s is part of the Bloomin’ Brands portfolio and, with about 65 locations, bills itself as a contemporary interpretation of the classic American steakhouse. This concept has been steady year-over-year, with 4.52 rating, 0.04 above its all-time average. Like most in this category, Fleming’s scores high for staff demeanor. Notably, Fleming’s same-store sales in Q1 of this year rose by 3.6%.
Fogo de Chão: This Dallas-based concept with about 60 locations has made headlines recently with its acquisition by Bain Capital Private Equity. The acquisition came after rumors swirled that the Brazilian steakhouse was planning to go public. Prior to the August deal, the chain made a 0.13 leap year-over-year and is 0.07 above its all-time average rating as well. Staff demeanor and dedication have contributed the most to this progress. As Leff notes, Fogo is interesting because it receives a high volume of guest feedback relative to its peers — more than double compared to other leaders.
The Melting Pot: With just over 100 locations, this Tampa-based, fondue-style concept rounds out the fine dining leaders with a 4.46 rating — 0.05 above last year and a staggering 0.19 increase above its all-time average rating. Staff demeanor is the highest in the category. Leff notes that The Melting Pot is notable for having so many locations yet still maintaining a dramatic improvement in guest satisfaction versus historical levels. “This tells me they’re doing something intentional to really improve their customer satisfaction levels,” he said.
In the “straddlers” category, STK Steakhouse had the biggest year-over-year leap, with a 0.39 improvement. Eddie Merlot’s experienced the biggest drop, with a 0.11 decline. Here is a look at all eight straddlers, in order.
Bob’s Steak & Chop House: 15 units, 4.45 rating, which ties its all-time average rating, but is down 0.06 year-over-year.
Eddie Merlot’s Prime Aged Beef and Seafood: 12 units. 4.34 rating is down 0.11 points year-over-year and 0.04 compared to its all-time average score.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House: 133 units. Ruth’s Chris has remained consistent year-over-year, with a 4.33 score, which is 0.04 above its all-time average rating. Notably, Ruth’s Chris was acquired by Olive Garden parent company Darden Restaurants in May.
Mastro’s Restaurants: 20 units. Mastro’s 4.31 rating is above the previous year by 0.04, but well below its all-time average of 4.42.
Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse: 11 units. Davio’s 4.29 score matches its all-time average rating, but is down slightly from 4.31 during the previous year.
STK Steakhouse: 18 units. STK Steakhouse has jumped by 0.39 year-over-year for a 4.26 rating, which is also well above its 4.14 all-time average.
Stoney River: 13 units. Stoney River’s 4.23 rating is below its 4.31 rating during the previous year, but above its 4.14 all-time average rating.
Nobu: 20 (domestic) units, this concept’s 4.22 rating is below 4.28 during the previous year, which is also its all-time average rating.
In the chasers category, Morton’s experienced the biggest drop year-over-year, from 4.28 to 4.14, while Benihana experienced the largest gain, from 3.55 to 3.66. That said, Benihana remains 0.18 below its all-time average rating. Here is a look at all nine chasers.
Texas de Brazil Churrascaria Steakhouse: 51 units, 4.17 rating. This is compared to 4.11 the previous year and 4.28 all-time.
Chart House: 24 units, 4.16 rating. This is compared to 4.19 the previous year and 4.12 all-time.
Morton’s The Steakhouse: 56 units, 4.14 rating. This is compared to 4.28 the previous year and 4.25 all-time.
The Palm Restaurant: 18 units, 4.13 rating. This is compared to 4.09 the previous year and 4.19 all-time.
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse: 17 units, 4.13 rating. This is compared to 4.03 the previous year and 4.24 all-time.
McCormick & Schmick’s: 25 units, 4.06 rating. This is compared to 4.09 the previous year and 4.10 all-time.
Fig & Olive: 6 units, 4.03 rating. This is compared to 4.11 the previous year and 4.11 all-time.
Shogun Restaurant: 8 units, 3.92 rating. This is compared to 3.91 the previous year and 4.05 all-time.
Benihana: 90 units, 3.66 rating. This is compared to 3.55 the previous year and 3.84 all-time.