NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - April 18, 2017) - In a new, first of its kind analysis that integrates offline and online consumer conversations, Engagement Labs released its TotalSocial™ rankings on the top performing casual dining restaurants in the U.S. The rankings of the top U.S. casual dining restaurants are based on Engagement Labs' proprietary TotalSocial data, which continuously measures the most important drivers of brand performance with respect to word of mouth conversations and social media.

The analysis finds that consumers generally speak positively about casual dining restaurants. In fact, offline sentiment is the strongest of the eight metrics that TotalSocial analyzes, and online sentiment is the second highest. Other metrics, however, are not as strong and demonstrate that the industry needs to focus more attention on generating a larger volume of conversations about their respective brands both online and offline.

According to Engagement Labs' TotalSocial data, The Cheesecake Factory is ranked first out of 16 chains measured. Olive Garden is very close behind but just misses due to The Cheesecake Factory's strength with offline influencers. Applebee's, ranked third on the TotalSocial list, actually garners the largest volume of conversations both online and offline but its middling sentiment score prevents the restaurant from taking the top spot.

The Company found that the steakhouses, Outback Steakhouse and LongHorn Steakhouse, score the highest with respect to sentiment for the category. Outback Steakhouse has the highest offline sentiment score, which may be attributed to its memorable campaigns such as when the Company's new app was launched and allowed its customers to have complete control over their dining experience. LongHorn Steakhouse is a very close second with regard to offline sentiment, and is the leader for online sentiment.

"Dining is one of the most talked about sectors. As people decide daily where to eat, they talk about their experiences with each other. We were encouraged to see that overall, consumers speak positively about many of these brands both online and offline. Now, there is an opportunity for brands to break away from the pack by building on strong consumer sentiment and raising volume, brand sharing and influencer scores to stand out," said Ed Keller, CEO of Engagement Labs.

It is worth noting that IHOP, ranked tenth, has a top five online score but is among the lowest when it comes to offline conversation. It is the only one in the category to have a higher online score than offline. This is what Engagement Labs calls a Social Misfit, a brand that performs strongly offline but not online, or vice versa.

To learn more about Engagement Labs or TotalSocial insights and how to increase your brand's word of mouth in real life and online, reach out at:

About Engagement Labs
Engagement Labs (TSX VENTURE: EL) is the world's first TotalSocial™ company, offering intelligent data, analytics and insights for marketers. We are leaders in tracking, measuring and benchmarking the impact of conversations happening around a brand and industry -- both online and offline. Consumer conversations are a proven driver of critical business outcomes, including sales. The patent pending TotalSocial data solution provides brands with unique insights and powerful analytics to understand online and offline social impact and drive business results. TotalSocial demonstrates to marketers how their online and offline conversation compare and contrast and helps identify areas of competitive opportunity or significant emerging threats. TotalSocial is an "always-on" proprietary scoring system, based on the most important drivers of brand performance: Volume, Sentiment, Brand Sharing and Influence. TotalSocial was built on the pillars of Engagement Labs' patented social media measurement tool and the world's only offline word of mouth tracking system for brands and tracks 500 brands within the U.S. across 17 major industry categories, and 350 brands in the UK.

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