It's official. Chili's is the most popular restaurant chain in Texas – Beaumont Enterprise

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Two Texas-based drive-thru restaurants ranked among America’s best places to get fast food, according to a recent survey.
As COVID-19 numbers drop, the hospitality industry is on the upswing and a new report highlights America’s favorite chain eateries ranging from Applebee’s to Wingstop. Turns out, Chili’s is the most popular restaurant chain in the Lone Star State.
The report from the TOP marketing agency presents a number of key findings related to the hospitality industry both nationally and at the state level. Across the U.S., casual dining traffic has increased 8.4% since 2021, according to the report, although six states have seen an overall reduction in casual dining traffic during this time period. In Texas, restaurant visits increased 5.4% from 2021 to 2022, per TOP.
With Lone Star State restaurant traffic on the upswing, what are Texans’ top chains for dining out?
Overall, Chili’s Grill & Bar claimed the top spot in Texas as the most popular restaurant chain, according to the report, followed by IHOP, Texas Roadhouse, Olive Garden and BJ’s Restaurant.
Texans weren’t the only restaurant-goers with a penchant for the Tex-Mex a la Chili’s. Nationally, the chain of baby back ribs fame claimed the No. 1 spot in 12 states. This includes every state bordering Texas as well as Illinois, Florida, Colorado and Connecticut.
While Chili’s fandom blanketed a large portion of the U.S. Southwest, Waffle House and Cracker Barrel were other popular options across the Southeast. Among outliers, Utah was the only state where Olive Garden claimed the top spot. Similarly, Kansas is the only state where IHOP reigned supreme. Additionally, the Green Mountain State, Vermont, was the only state with LongHorn Steakhouse as the top choice.
It’s official. Chili’s is the most popular restaurant chain in Texas.
While the report focused on restaurant traffic, it’s also possible to assess takeout interest using Google Trends. Search interest related to Chili’s takeout surged at the end of March and the beginning of April 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
By mid-June 2020, Texas search interest related to Chili’s takeout would drop 77% from the this April high, according to the Google Trends dataset. As of this week, search interest related to Chili’s takeout had reached its lowest point since the start of 2020.
By filtering the results for the U.S., the data shows that national interest in Chili’s takeout has followed a similar trajectory as detailed in the Texas dataset, peaking at the onset of the pandemic in the spring of 2020 before reaching recent two-year lows in April 2022.
Methodology
To determine the rankings, the company “aggregated visit data” involving 12 million Americans to “compare which restaurant chains and states are getting the most foot traffic compared to 2021 figures.”
R. Dallon Adams is an audience development producer for the Houston Chronicle.

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