Texas Roadhouse Isn't America's Most Loved Restaurant Anymore—Here's the New Winner
Between the affordable steaks, massive margaritas, and a fun atmosphere, it's no secret why Texas Roadhouse is so popular. The steakhouse chain is so beloved that it received the highest rating on the American Customer Satisfaction Index for full-service restaurants two years in a row.
Despite this acclaim, another chain has been creeping up on Texas Roadhouse's popularity and just stole the crown as America's most loved restaurant brand. First Watch, which specializes in breakfast and brunch, was the highest-ranked restaurant chain on Yelp's new list of the 50 most loved brands in 2023.
The review site didn't look exclusively at restaurant brands in compiling this list. It also included grocery stores, clothing stores, and other retailers. First Watch didn't take the top spot in the ranking overall—that crown went to beloved grocery chain Trader Joe's. But at fourth place, First Watch did receive the highest ranking out of all the other restaurant brands that made the cut.
First Watch was founded in 1983 in Pacific Grove, Calif., according to Forbes, and the brand has since expanded to encompass more than 470 restaurants in 29 states. Texas Roadhouse still has far more locations than First Watch, with data company ScrapeHero reporting that it currently operates 621 restaurants in the country. But First Watch has been growing rapidly in the past few years.
With this expanding footprint and seasonal menus that prioritize high-quality ingredients, it's no surprise that First Watch's popularity with customers is soaring in 2023. The customer service and environment at First Watch's restaurants are also major factors in their popularity with patrons.
"Brands that focus on building local communities are well-represented on our list," Kadecia Ber, advertising trends expert and director of enterprise solutions at Yelp, said in reference to the new brands ranking. "Trader Joe's and First Watch, for example, make their customers feel like they're in a local grocery store or diner. The employees know the locals and often go out of their way to help customers—this is what consumers value and reward."
Texas Roadhouse was the second highest-ranked restaurant brand on the list at sixth place. Nothing Bundt Cakes, Kung Fu Tea, and Floor & Decor took second, third, and fifth place, respectively. According to Yelp, the 50 brands that made the list all have qualities that those in the Yelp community value, like affordability, great customer service, and products that are both consistent and high quality.
Though Texas Roadhouse fell slightly short behind First Watch on the Yelp ranking, it has still achieved a lot to brag about this year. Company executives announced in February that their restaurants had averaged more guests in the first seven weeks of the year than in any other period in its history. Brand Finance, a brand valuation consultancy, also named Texas Roadhouse last month as the fastest-growing restaurant brand in 2023.