I place BrandIndex's casual dining value research with Reuters' ShopTalk blog and Mediapost

Best deals for restaurant meals

When it comes to getting the most bang for a buck at sit-down restaurants, Olive Garden, Cracker Barrel, Golden Corral, Applebee’s and Chili’s get top marks, according to 5,000 diners recently polled online by BrandIndex.

Brands with the worst perceived value were Ground Round, Benihana, Bahama Breeze, Landry’s Seafood House and Hooter’s.

Sit-down restaurants have been discounting heavily as consumers cook more meals at home and “trade down” to lower-priced fast-food chains to save money amid a long recession that has sent U.S. unemployment to a 26-year high.

BrandIndex is owned by market research company YouGov.

Here is the full list of results:

(A score can range from 100 to -100 and is compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.)


Oliver Garden: 56.80
Cracker Barrel: 55.61
Golden Corral: 54.85
Applebee’s: 47.24
Chili’s: 46.14
Famous Dave’s: 44.28
TGI Friday’s: 41.43
Red Robin: 41.28
Ruby Tuesday: 40.70
Hometown Buffet: 34.64
Fuddrucker’s: 32.31
Macaroni Grill: 30.58
Pei Wei Asian Dinner: 29.40
Carrabba’s: 26.24
California Pizza Kitchen: 24.70
Buffalo Wild Wings: 22.50
Sizzler: 22.27
Luby’s: 18.25
Red Lobster: 17.68
On The Border: 16.42
Houlihan’s: 3.62
Ground Round: 0.00
Benihana: -7.66
Bahama Breeze: -11.63
Landry’s Seafood House: -12.26
Hooter’s: -41.98


Olive Garden, Cracker Barrel Again Rank Best Value

Olive Garden and Cracker Barrel continue to be the top-ranked casual dining restaurants in terms of value, according to the latest consumer survey results from BrandIndex.

BrandIndex tracks 1,000-plus consumer brands, gathering opinions on seven brand-health indicators on a daily basis from 5,000 U.S. adults drawn from an online panel of more than 1 million. The value score -- reflecting consumer responses to the question: "Does it give good value for what you pay?" -- is one of the most telling in terms of overall brand health, according to BrandIndex parent YouGovPolimetrix. Scores can range from 100 to -100, and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive feedback.

As of July 12, Olive Garden scored 56.8 and Cracker Barrel 55.61.Golden Corral (54.85) came in third, bumping Applebee's (47.24) down by one ranking since the rankings that were released last October.

Rounding out the top 10, in order, are Chili's (46.14), Famous Dave's (44.28), TGI Friday's (41.43), Red Robin (41.28), Ruby Tuesday (40.7), Hometown Buffet (34.64) and Fuddrucker's (32.31). --Karlene Lukovitz