What makes people really love a restaurant brand? Not just “what brand do they most frequent?” because inevitably the McDonald’s and Starbucks of the world would be at the top of the list purely as the winners of a numbers game. Rather, what makes people put that restaurant at the top of their mental list of favorite places to eat?
Technomic’s 2023 data for America’s Favorite Chains offers a detailed, and sometimes surprising, glimpse into the psyche and stomachs of the American consumer. Both high and low price points dominated the list: brands that reflect budget-conscious consumption trends, as well as chains that offer pricier in-person experiences that consumers could not easily get anywhere else. In fact, America’s top 10 favorite chains list is dominated by smoothies (Tropical Smoothie Cafe and Smoothie King) and steak (Ruth’s Chris Steak House, LongHorn Steakhouse, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, and The Capital Grille).