In a poll of more than 6,700 people in the United States, the favorite casual dining restaurant in the United States was Maggiano's Little Italy. The Italian restaurant chain, which is operated by Dallas-based Brinker International, has two restaurants in North Texas, in Dallas and Plano.
The Market Force Information study, conducted in November 2018, aims to show levels of satisfaction among chains. Of the top 10 restaurants named "favorites," all 10 have multiple locations in Dallas-Fort Worth. No surprise: We have a lot of chain restaurants in the Dallas area, and many restaurants are headquartered here, too.
Here's the list of the top 10, in order: Maggiano's Little Italy (with two D-FW locations); Texas Roadhouse (14 in D-FW); First Watch (nine); Cracker Barrel (11); Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen (13); LongHorn Steakhouse (one); Blaze Pizza (four); Bonefish Grill (two); BJ's Brewhouse (11); and Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen (12).
Blaze Pizza is an interesting addition to the top 10, since it is also fast-casual. This order-at-the-counter pizza place announced in fall 2018 it would expand to as many as 20 restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth. Blaze counts basketball player LeBron James as one of its investors.
A statement notes that Blaze "dominated" the pizza space and saw $279 million in sales in 2017.
The Market Force study notes that fast-casual restaurants have experienced a "sales slump." How can a casual dining restaurant like Maggiano's stay relevant? They need "repeat visits from loyal guests, particularly since they're more expensive than fast casual and QSR [quick service restaurant]," says Brad Christian, chief customer officer for Market Force, in a statement. "These brands should be looking at options such as third-party delivery services, additional promotions and simplifying the ordering process with tablets to continue their strong returns."