The COVID-19 pandemic cast a dark cloud over the entire restaurant industry, but some segments have weathered the storm better than others. Despite the challenges of the last two years, many major casual-dining chains are reporting huge sales growth over 2020 as well as 2019, and they are experiencing some of the industry’s highest levels of customer satisfaction.

According to Merchant Centric, a reputation management solution and aggregator of online guest feedback, casual-dining restaurants’ level of consumer satisfaction remained high at an average of 4.09 stars in the first half of 2021. All other segments averaged below four stars with the exception of fine dining, which averaged 4.38 stars.

“The relative success of casual dinning over the past 12 months indicates that this segment is definitely meeting and satisfying a pent-up demand,” said Adam Leff, co-founder of Merchant Centric.

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