SOURCE: The Luxury Institute

The Luxury Institute

June 25, 2009 07:00 ET

Luxury Institute Survey: High Net-Worth Consumers Rank Ruth's Chris Steakhouse as "Best of the Best" Fine Dining National Restaurant Chain

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - June 25, 2009) - High net-worth Americans rate the food, service and overall dining experience at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse "Best of the Best" among the 20 most popular fine dining national restaurant chains. Furthermore, according to the latest Luxury Institute "WealthSurvey: Food and Dining Habits of Wealthy U.S. Consumers," diners with an average annual income of $336,000 and an average household net-worth of $2.2 million say that the current economic climate hasn't diminished the bi-weekly frequency of their out-of-home dining. The questions were developed in cooperation with Concrete Marketing Solutions.

While wealthy diners identify Ruth's Chris Steakhouse as the priciest chain restaurant, the Florida-based steakhouse's superior ratings for food quality and service secure it as the top overall restaurant.

Often, dining out is a matter of convenience for the wealthy, and when it is, they seek value. Olive Garden has been the most popular destination over the past year, and was visited by 36 percent of these elite diners. Other popular restaurants include:

--  Applebee's (30 %)
--  Outback Steakhouse (28 %)
--  Chili's (27 %)
--  Red Lobster (27 %)
--  TGI Friday's (25 %)
    

"The nature of what constitutes a fine dining experience -- well-presented and delicious food that's served flawlessly in an environment that pleases all the senses -- does not change simply because of the business cycle," said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. "This comes directly from the types of diners who don't mind spending $300 or $400 on a dinner for two with a bottle of nice wine and dessert."

Two-thirds of the wealthy say that Italian food is their favorite restaurant fare, adding to the appeal of Maggiano's Little Italy, the second most popular chain that also ranks in the top three for food quality, service and restaurant décor. Portland seafood chain McCormick & Schmick's finishes first for décor, second for service and third for overall experience behind Ruth's Chris and Maggiano's.

Moderately priced chain PF Chang's China Bistro received high marks for food quality -- finishing third behind Maggiano's and Ruth's Chris -- and earned a fourth-place ranking for overall dining experience.

The study also shows that forty percent of wealthy diners read reviews on the Internet, with Zagat being the most popular online restaurant advisory and with one in six turning to Dine.com. Popular magazine sources of reviews are:

--  Food and Wine (32 %)
--  Bon Appetit (30 %)
--  Gourmet (22 %)
--  Wine Spectator (15 %)
    

About the Luxury Institute (www.LuxuryInstitute.com)

The Luxury Institute is the uniquely independent and impartial ratings and research institution that is the trusted and respected voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute provides a portfolio of proprietary publications and research and consulting services that guides and educates high net-worth individuals and the companies that cater to them on leading edge trends, high net-worth consumer rankings and ratings of luxury brands, and best practices. The Luxury Institute also operates the LuxuryBoard.com (www.LuxuryBoard.com), the world's first global, membership-based online community for luxury goods and services executives, professionals and entrepreneurs.

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