Fans Told Mashed Which Dine-In Restaurant Has The Best Service - Exclusive Survey

What's the most important factor when you're choosing a restaurant? How the food tastes probably ranks right at the top of the list, while ambiance also comes into play, particularly when you're celebrating a special occasion. Service, however, tends to be the unsung hero of the restaurant world. While you'll seldom hear someone say they chose a particular restaurant solely because the wait staff is so darn nice, the fact is, service can make or break a dining experience. After all, what good is amazing food if you have to wait forever to get it? Even the most charming of settings can also start to pall when you've been sitting at your table for an hour without so much as a glass of water to occupy you. (Pity the poor diners in the pre-cell phone era!)

The point is, service matters, so with this in mind, Mashed surveyed 582 diners to find out which popular casual dining chain they would say offers the best service. We gave them a choice of five such establishments, all with a nationwide presence, these being Applebee's, Buffalo Wild Wings, The Cheesecake Factory, Chili's, and Olive Garden. As the votes were tabulated, it seemed that two chains were running neck-and-neck for the top spot, but one eventually came out ahead by a nose.

Olive Garden's service is sure to satisfy

The chain with the best service, coming in with 33.68% of the vote, was Olive Garden, since who doesn't like to see a server coming towards them with yet another basket of those popular (and free!) breadsticks or sprinkling fresh-grated parmesan on never-ending bowls of minestrone? The Cheesecake Factory, however, was a very close second as its 33.16% share translated to just three fewer votes. Between these two chains, they captured two-thirds of the total votes in our poll.

Way back in third place, with a mere 13.57% approval rating, was Applebee's, a chain with a somewhat dubious reputation that wasn't necessarily improved too much by their launching an ad campaign based on a TikTok dance fad. Still, they came out better than Chili's, a chain whose service got the thumbs up from just 11.17% of the people we polled. The biggest loser was BWW with just 8.42%. But to give those poor servers their due, Buffalo Wild Wings is not the easiest place to work. Plus there's a chance they're all suffering serious hearing loss from B-Dub's noise level.