Data Viz: 20 Best Restaurants

Well it’s finally Friday, which is known to be one of the most popular days for dining out for lunch or dinner. So, what style of food are you craving today? 


Is it a burger, pasta, tacos, salad or something else? Here at Evolve Research, we love to fill ourselves up with all sorts of fantastic foods. Most of the time we eat locally, but every now and then, especially on a road trip, we tend to gravitate towards one of America’s top full-service chain restaurants. 


If you enjoy get served dinner vs cooking at home then I bet you can find your favorite sit-down chain restaurant on this chart. Our mascot, Gladwell, dug up some data from for us and developed our own chart to list the top 20 Chain Restaurants in 2017 based on the number of locations, sales dollars, and customer satisfaction score.


Hint: The larger and darker the circle, the higher the sales revenue the chain brings in. When it comes to customer satisfaction rank, the lower the number, the better.





We cultivated some interesting observations based on this data:

  • Oklahoma has 13 of the chains listed in this chart. And lucky for us, two restaurants offering some of our favorite styles of food, Mexican dishes and steak dinners, are ranked in the top 4 when it comes to customer satisfaction rankings. 
  • Interestingly, Olive Garden comes in at #32 based on customer satisfaction rank, but boasts the highest sales annually, with 840 locations – see the correlation between $ and locations?
  • Do you think that you see a Cracker Barrel on every state highway? Well even for being in 2nd place in # of locations, they fall to #3 in total sales dollars.
  • Texas Roadhouse is America’s top chain steakhouse when it comes to # of locations and sales $. Adding to that, chains best at parlaying customer satisfaction into sales are hard to beat – this place knows what they are doing!
  • Smaller chains such as The Capital Grille, Abuelo’s, & Maggiano’s Little Italy & Pappasito’s Cantina seem to be taking on the industry giants coming in at the top 25% of customer-sentiment ratings.


Evolve Two-Cents

Other than for a couple of anomalies, we conclude that the higher the number of locations and higher the sales dollars (well, d'uh), but the lower the customer satisfaction rank falls.  That’s not saying we won’t stay clear of restaurants like P.F. Chang’s and Red Robin, but we may not make it our first option when choosing to dine out at one of America’s best sit-down establishments. After all, this was based out of a total of 90 restaurants.



Posted by Jennifer

Jennifer is all things project management, but she is also passionate about qualitative research, and creating unique graphics and data viz. When she isn't consumed with work, you can find her playing outside with her husband and their two blue heelers, starting her next DIY project, or volunteering in the community.

Topics: #dataviz