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.