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Casual dining restaurants (CDRs) are in a transition. The trials and tribulations that have tested the retail market, like over-retailing sparking more competition and the rise of e-commerce such as with online orderingare beginning to present complex challenges for restaurants trying to turn tables. The time is now for brands to re-evaluate retention strategies for today's consumers.

Brand loyalty is coveted by all marketers, and even more challenging to attain in the restaurant space that's often subject to wavering consumer tastes. To better understand what inspires strong loyalty, we looked at the top 50 casual dining restaurants in the U.S., to highlight trends and commonalities between some of the country's most beloved chains.

Our unique understanding of where people go in the real world gives us the ability to analyze foot traffic patterns and dining trends from our nationally representative group of U.S. consumers who make up our always-on foot traffic panel. To determine who is winning when it comes to attracting loyal visitors, we define loyalty by four key metrics: visit frequency (the average number of visits per diner within a year,) market penetration (the regional percentage of all casual dining diners who visited the chain within a year), share of wallet (the percentage of the consumer's total 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% of customers who visit a particular chain, on a scale of 1 to 50.)

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