Buffalo Wild Wings’ customers top restaurant loyalty index

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Business Insider rounded up the oldest restaurant in each state. For Georgia, it's the Plaza Restaurant & Oyster Bar in Thomasville. The eatery, 250 miles south of Atlanta, has been operating for more than 100 years. It serves a menu with Greek and seafood flair. It was established in 1916.

There are tons of casual dining restaurants to visit to enjoy a nice meal. From Applebee’s to Hooters, the possibilities are endless. But which one has the most loyal customers?

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Foursquare, a location technology company, recently conducted a study to find out. For its first ever Casual Dining Restaurant Loyalty Index, researchers analyzed chains earning over $100 million in annual revenue according to Restaurant Business Online's list of the top casual dining chains.

They then used the patterns of Foursquare users, who had been active on the site for at least one year, to assess dining trends across four major categories. The sections were visit frequency; market penetration, the percentage of all CDR diners who visited the chain within a year; share of wallet, the percentage of the consumer’s total CDR visits that a particular chain captures within a year; and fanaticism threshold, the number of visits within a year required for a customer to be within the top 1 percent of customers.

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After calculating the results, they found that Buffalo Wild Wings, which is owned by Atlanta-based finance company Roark Capital Group, came out on top. Analysts reported that its high penetration and share of wallet helped the eatery claim the No. 1 spot.

“Fanaticism also increased year-over-year, due in part to a contingent of superfans most likely going wild for the chain’s Blazin’ Rewards loyalty program, which expanded in 2017 to serve all 1200+ locations,” the authors wrote.

Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, Denny’s, Applebee’s and IHOP all followed right behind Buffalo Wild Wings to round out the top five.

The researchers also highlighted a specific trends. They noted that alcohol, particularly beer, drives loyalty. They also pointed out restaurants providing a variety of food options for patrons as a loyalty indicator. Lastly, they said restaurants that merged, such as Buffalo Wild Wings and Arby's, "helped brands increase industry presence, capture new audiences, and drive overall share of wallet."

Want to know how other places fared? Take a look at the full report here.

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