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Consumers rate which chains are taking COVID safety seriously

New Technomic consumer data shows which restaurants are adhering to social distancing, personal protective equipment and more.
Photograph: Shutterstock

As states and cities reopen restaurant dining rooms and increase capacity limits, there remains one all-important question:

Do consumers feel safe returning to restaurants?

New consumer data from Restaurant Business sister company Technomic sheds some light on that, detailing which chains are doing the best, and which are falling short, when it comes to COVID safety precautions.

Technomic asked consumers who had recently visited restaurant chains whether employees there used personal protective equipment, whether social distancing was in effect, whether they witnessed safe handling of food and beverages, and whether they were left with the overall impression that customer safety and sanitation was taken seriously. The Q3 survey was based on 27,300 consumers with 175 recent guests per brand tracked.

Here’s how restaurant brands fared, broken down by segment. The percentage is the number of consumers who strongly agree that the chain is following coronavirus safety protocols.

Casual dining

Top rated

Seasons 52, 46.9%

Texas Roadhouse, 45.7%

Maggiano’s Little Italy, 43.6%

Lowest rated

Red Lobster, 28.4%

O’Charley’s, 29.1%

Ruby Tuesday, 29.7%


Family dining

Top rated

First Watch, 44.7%

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, 44.7%

Village Inn, 40.7%

Lowest rated

Friendly’s, 26.7%

IHOP, 31.9%

Denny’s, 32.9%


Fast casual

Top rated

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, 43.7%

Newk’s Eatery, 41.9%

Zoes Kitchen, 41.4%

Lowest rated

Freddy’s Frozen Custard, 26.1%

Panera Bread, 28.6%

Zaxby’s, 30.3%


Quick service

Top rated

Quizno’s, 48.6%

Dutch Bros. Coffee, 46.1%

Peet’s Coffee, 45.3%

Lowest rated

Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, 22.3%

Arby’s, 23.3%

Dairy Queen, 24%

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