The holidays are fast approaching, but not everyone is dining out in groups this season. So Technomic asked solo diners—one of the tougher markets to crack—to rate chains on how welcoming and comfortable they are.
Using data from the most recent four quarters in Technomic's Consumer Brand Metrics program, here’s a look at the chains winning big with those eating alone. Scores are based on the percent of those who dined solo who rated the chain as “very good” for its atmosphere.
For comparison, Restaurant Business contrasted those solo diners’ scores with the marks from all diners in general. While many chains scored higher with the overall group, there were a number of restaurants that actually seem more welcoming to solo diners.
Still, there were a few chains—called out at the end of this ranking—that consumers in general consider to be extremely welcoming and hospitable, but that score significantly lower with solo diners, not even cracking the Top 10. Find out which chains might need to focus more on those dining alone.
2. The Capital Grille
Typical of the fine-dining model, The Capital Grille is well-known for its hospitality, helping it rank in the No. 2 spot. When compared with the score for all diners, though, it scores 5 percentage points higher among all diners, showing that even the most welcoming chains can still improve when it comes to dine-alone guests.
The burger chain known for its signature butter burgers and fried cheese curds actually scored better with solo diners than it did with everyone. Scoring a 58.7% with all diners, the QSR’s tableside delivery helps it stand apart from some others in the burger market.
4. Caribou Coffee
The coffee chain is known for its comfy seating, both for groups and folks dining on their own, making it appealing for those wishing to linger in any size party. It scored slightly higher among the overall crowd—63.5% of all diners agree that it’s a welcoming and hospitable concept—though still ranking near the top of the list with those on their own.
7. Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers
The chicken chain with a limited menu of chicken fingers, fries and coleslaw scored 64.1% among all diners, landing it the No. 8 spot on the overall ranking. While the score may be a few percentage points lower, it’s still a top chain among those dining on their own.
Among all of the Top 10 chains, Schlotzsky’s percentage difference between solo diners and everyone shows the biggest difference. Those on their own rank the chain 3.5 percentage points higher than all diners (who scored the chain 54.8% in its welcoming and hospitable atmosphere).
Chains winning overall...but not scoring high with solo diners
A list of the 10 most welcoming and hospitable chains among diners overall would include many of solo diners’ favorites—including The Capital Grille, Firehouse Subs and Raising Cane’s.
But it’s notable that five of the Top 10 chains considered warmest by diners overall, actually received significantly lower marks from those eating on their own. See which of the overall winners aren’t showing solo diners the love.