Courtesy of Buffalo Wild Wings

"It's clear that alcohol—and beer in particular—drives loyalty.”  

Jillian Kramer
March 26, 2018

We all have it—the chain restaurant we can count on to comfort us with wings or piles of pancakes. We are, in a sense, loyal to these chains, which we hold in sentimental esteem. Now, Foursquare has released a new report showing the chain food brands have the most loyal customers.

To get its list of 20 restaurants, the location technology company analyzed data it collected from its apps' most frequent users over a yearlong period, taking into account its users’ frequency, penetration, share of wallet—i.e., “median share of each customer’s total casual dining visits to a particular chain over a year"—as well as fanaticism threshold, or the “number of visits within a year required for a user to be within the top one percent of users who visit a particular chain.” With these stats, Foursquare was able to determine the top 20 chain restaurants with the most loyal customers.

Buffalo Wild Wings landed in the top spot with the highest number of loyal customers, the report—which was sent to Food & Wine via email—shows. Immediately following the wing spot were Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, Denny’s, Applebee’s, IHOP, and Cracker Barrel.

“With a sports bar securing the No. 1 spot in the rankings and a taproom taking No. 2,” the app writes in its report, “it’s clear that alcohol—and beer in particular—drives loyalty.”  

Hooters, Hard Rock, Twin Peaks and Miller’s Ale House also secured top spots with loyal customer bases, seemingly reinforcing Foursquare’s conclusion about sports and beer.

A bit further down on the list of 50 companies analyzed were Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, P.F. Chang’s, Benihana, Red Lobster, and Carrabba’s.

For brands looking to boost their customer loyalty, the company recommends “[using] loyal fans’ affinities and preferences to influence menu development, seasonal promotions, and much more,” the report states.