With the Super Bowl now over (congratulations to the Green Bay Packers), Valentine’s Day becomes our next major event.

On Valentine’s Day, millions of couples will make a special trip to their favorite restaurant to celebrate the occasion.  With that in mind, we thought we’d examine two of what will be the most popular venues for Valentine’s Day – Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Morton’s Steakhouse.

These two steak houses are well known as the most popular steakhouses in the United States.  Morton’s, owned by Morton’s Restaurant Group, operates approximately 75 restaurants in major metropolitan areas.  Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse operates more than 120 locations, both domestic and abroad.

Let’s take a look at how both steakhouses compares in terms of check-ins. One would think that both restaurants are designed to perform well with check-in traffic, as these are both locations where customers will want to share their experience with friends.

Total Check-Ins: The number of check-ins that each brand has received across all its venues.

Ruth’s Chris: 9,511

Morton’s: 5,160

Unlike some of our previous check-in analysis, these two restaurants are very evenly matched.  However, it is surprising that these restaurants are both averaging less than 100 check-ins per venue, as one would think that dozens of people every night would be checking into each restaurant and sharing their experience.

Total People: The total number of people that have checked-in.  Unique people will be fewer than total check-ins, as people may check-in more than once at a location.

Ruth’s Chris; 6,640

Morton’s: 3,393

Ruth’s Chris again has a bigger presence than Morton’s, but this could very much be due to the fact that Ruth’s Chris has nearly twice as many locations as Morton’s.

Looking at check-ins per user will provide some context around just how popular these venues are.  By dividing Total Check-ins by Total People, we can learn about each brand’s customer loyalty.  (Higher is better.)

Ruth’s Chris: 1.4

Morton’s: 1.5

It appears that Morton’s Steakhouse are just slightly more loyal than Ruth’s Chris customers.  However, it should be noted that it may be difficult to judge loyalty based on frequency.  Dining with either brand is considered a “special event,” unlike a traditional quick-service restaurant.

Customer Overlap

Using detailed check-in analysis, we can also compare each brand’s customer and determine the overlap in their customer bases.

Ruth’s Chris: .2%

Morton’s: .4%

Based on this data, it doesn’t appear that there is much overlap between customers that visit Ruth’s Chris and Morton’s.  Some potential reasons?

  • Both brands have extreme customer loyalty
  • More check-in data needed for both brands

Before we can draw any significant conclusions on customer overlap, it looks like we’ll require more data,

Finally, let’s take a look at average Social Influence, which is an indicator of how influential a brand’s customers are in the social web.  (Max score is 10.)

One would expect both restaurants to have a highly-influential clientele.

Ruth’s Chris: 2.3

Morton’s: 2.5

This does hold true, as both venues have patrons with strong social influence.  (For example, these patrons have more social influence than those that visit Buffalo Wild Wings or Hooters)

Check-Ins by Day

PlacePunch also analyzes check-in traffic, enabling brands to understand when customers check-in.

One would think that both Ruth’s Chris and Morton’s would have the luxury of being able to generate weekday traffic from business meetings and weekend traffic from social gatherings.

Ruth’s Chris absolutely follows this pattern and has strong traffic both during the week and on the weekend. Surprisingly, one of its busiest days is Wednesdays.

While Morton’s does have strong weekday traffic, it sees a spike in traffic on Friday and Saturday. Why the spike in traffic on Friday’s?  One possible explanation is Morton’s “Power Hour” program. Since the recession hit in 2008, Morton’s has done a nice job of introducing promotions that continue to fill its restaurants.  Power Hour may be a popular choice for the Friday-evening happy hour crowd.

Closing Thoughts
Both Morton’s and Ruth’s Chris are very similar in terms of the total number of check-ins they have been able to generate, guest loyalty and check-in traffic.

Because both brands have very influential customers, they should both consider introducing check-in programs to incentivize guests to share their dining experiences. This will help generate repeat customer visits and help potential new customers discover programs like Morton’s “Power Hour.”