How Texas Roadhouse Became the Fastest Growing Restaurant Brand in America
Texas Roadhouse is on a roll, and it's showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. Loved among customers for its affordable prices, fun atmosphere, and popular food offerings like the legendary fresh bread with honey cinnamon butter, Texas Roadhouse grew big enough to secure the title of America's largest steakhouse chain by sales in 2021, per Statista. And roughly three decades after its founding in 1993, the company is still keeping up the growth momentum.
Texas Roadhouse was just named the fastest-growing restaurant brand in 2023, beating out other fast-growing, major chains like Popeyes and Burger King.
Brand Finance, a brand valuation consultancy, compiles a yearly report on the most valuable and strongest restaurant brands. In its latest edition, the consultancy found that Texas Roadhouse has seen a 56% increase in its brand value in 2023 and estimated that it is now worth $2.3 billion. This made it the fastest-growing brand out of all those considered in the Brand Finance ranking, though the Filipino brand Jollibee wasn't too far behind with a 53% increase.
Brand Finance uses a set of factors and measures to calculate the value of a brand, such as royalty rates, revenues, and a ranking they assign on what they call a "Brand Strength Index." The consultancy said that the sizable increase in Texas Roadhouse's brand value was primarily due to its "strong expansion strategy," and indeed, the chain has some aggressive growth plans on the horizon.
As of December 2022, the company operated 652 Texas Roadhouse restaurants across the United States and beyond, not including dozens of locations under its two other brands: Bubba's 33 and Jaggers. The chain announced an ambitious goal in October 2021 to eventually grow to a whopping 900 restaurants, a significant jump from the 700 or 800 locations it was planning for prior to raising that goal. Texas Roadhouse built the confidence to shoot for 900 after moving into smaller markets—with populations around 40,000 to 60,000 people—and seeing success with consumers there.
"We changed that number because we do see the upside, and the success in some of the smaller communities that we've been able to go in really allowed us to up that number. If we continue to do it right and all the world works with us, we think that we can get to that number," CEO Jerry Morgan said of Texas Roadhouse's growth plans back in 2021.
If Texas Roadhouse's performance over the last couple of years is any indication, the brand may be able to reach its ambitious goal. Texas Roadhouse bounced back from the COVID-19 pandemic better than other major chains, despite raising its prices to battle rising food and labor costs.
And last month, Texas Roadhouse announced that its restaurants had averaged more guests in the previous seven weeks than in any other period in its history. Same-store sales were also up 15.8% in that same time period, the company said.
While Texas Roadhouse executives couldn't say for certain what led to this record traffic, they did mention factors like higher staffing levels, the rollout of a service that allows guests to pay at their table with a tablet, and the addition of kitchen display systems at certain locations that help restaurants manage customer orders. These are all changes that can help boost the efficiency and speed of service, as well as customer satisfaction, allowing Texas Roadhouse locations to serve more guests and potentially entice them to come back.
Though Texas Roadhouse was crowned the fastest-growing brand in 2023, it was not the most valuable brand overall in the Brand Finance report. That title went to Starbucks, whose brand value increased 17% to an estimated $53.4 billion, while fast food giant McDonald's came in second with an estimated value of $36.9 billion.