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This Is America's Least Favorite Major Restaurant Chain, Says New Report

Eat This, Not That! logo Eat This, Not That! 7/2/2020 Colby Hall
a man sitting at a table: Guy eating at fast-food restaurant © Shutterstock Guy eating at fast-food restaurant

Tough news for the owners and operators of Chili's Grill and Bar: They came in last in a recent consumer report that ranked customer satisfaction at full-service restaurants.

The new report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index shows that, overall, full-service restaurants are falling out of favor with American consumers. Customers were asked to evaluate their recent experiences with the largest (in terms of market share) sit-down and fast-food restaurants. The overall rating for the category at large fell 2.5% to a score of only 79 out of 100.

Of the top brands listed, Chili's Grill and Bar received the lowest score of 75, while Longhorn Steakhouse and Texas Roadhouse earned the highest marks. According to reporting by USA Today, customers found Chili's quality of service to be lacking compared to all other full-service chains.

What's a "full-service" restaurant? It's defined as a sit-down eatery where food is served directly to the customer's table. These establishments may sell alcoholic beverages, provide takeout and delivery, and/or present live entertainment. In terms of national chains, think of Olive Garden, Ruby Tuesday's, and of course, Chili's.

Despite their low rating, the parent company of Chili's Grill&Bar seems undeterred. In a recent quarterly report, Brinker International holding announced plans to maximize dine-in sales by reopening (in limited operation) the dining rooms of 300 restaurants by this weekend. Chili's seating plans have been reportedly reconfigured for virtually all of its restaurants to meet the CDC guidelines of capacity caps and other social distancing measures set by the handful of states that have greenlighted dining rooms to reopen.

"If it's a half a dining room scenario, no one will get more out of half a dining room than we will," vowed Brinker CEO Wyman Roberts. Chili's plan to aggressively reopen while a great number of states are seeing spikes in COVID-19 cases is a curious decision, though the coronavirus pandemic has presented an unprecedented challenge for both corporate restaurant chains and independent restaurant owners as well.


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