January 30, 2007

"Italian Restaurants" Most Searched Cuisine and Cheesecake Factory Most Popular Chain in 2006 DiningGuide Study

The most popular search by web users is for Italian food and the most popular national chain restaurant is the Cheesecake Factory, according to a recent analysis by DiningGuide.com. One of the Internet's premiere restaurant sites, DiningGuide receives hundreds of thousands of queries annually to its local search system for restaurants. In 2006, Italian restaurants stood out as the cuisine most desired by DiningGuide readers, comprising almost a quarter of the top ten searches. The table below shows the top ten searches and their percentage of the queries within the top 10 itself.

  Cuisine Type % of top 10 searches
1. Italian 23%
2. Seafood 18%
3. Steak 14%
4. Mexican 10%
5. Chinese 8%
6. Japanese 7%
7. Sushi 6%
8. Indian 5%
9. Thai 5%
10. Asian 4%

The top ten in the previous year were virtually the same, with French dropping out of the top ten, and Asian cuisine coming in. The analysis takes into account similar terms, for example grouping terms like "seafood," "sea food," and "fish" together as searches in the "seafood" category.

DiningGuide readers also expressed strong preferences for national restaurant chains, with Cheesecake Factory, Houston's, Olive Garden and Melting Pot occupying the top four slots for both 2005 and 2006. The table below shows the top ten chain searches and their percentage of the queries within the top 10 itself.

  Chain Name % of top 10 searches
1. Cheesecake Factory 14%
2. Houston's 14%
3. Olive Garden 12%
4. Melting Pot 12%
5. Bonefish Grill 11%
6. Outback Steakhouse 9%
7. Red Lobster 8%
8. Roy's 8%
9. P.F. Chang's 7%
10. Bahama Breeze 6%

The strongest year to year gain was for Bonefish Grill, moving from 8th in 2005 to the 5th slot in 2006. In 2006, Capital Grille and celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse's signature restaurant, Emeril's dropped out of the top ten searches, whereas Darden subsidiaries Red Lobster and Bahama Breeze moved up to join the top ten. Darden, owner of Olive Garden, thus occupied three of the top ten searches, with another Darden unit, Seasons 52, just missing the top ten at position 11.

"We keep an electronic ticker running on the wall of our offices with all our search statistics and live searches," said Mark Metz, CEO of MetroGuide.com, Inc, operator of the DiningGuide.com website, "and I don't ever recall a day when Italian hasn't been the top restaurant search. We feel lucky to have such an excellent bird's eye view of what real consumers are looking for in the restaurant industry."

DiningGuide first appeared in electronic format on a series of touch screen kiosks in 1993, and first appeared on the web in 1995. Incorporated in Florida in 1996, privately held MetroGuide.com, Inc. operates a combination of a social network and local search system representing over 300 cities nationwide. For more information visit MetroGuide-Inc.com or contact Scott Rogers at (954) 981-5850.