Announcing the 2023 Best Practices Awards and Honorees

February 17, Dallas, Texas – Black Box Intelligence, the leading provider of restaurant intelligence and insights powering GuestXM, an experience management platform, announced the winners of the 2023 Best Practices Awards at the 26th annual Best Practices Conference in Dallas, Texas.

The Best Practices Awards recognize the brands that consistently deliver exceptional results across the restaurant experience. Nominee selections are evaluated based on sales, traffic, employment, and people practices. The recipients of each award rank highest in their segment.

The nominees included: Apple American, Aussie Grill by Outback, Bahama Breeze, Biscuitville, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Chipotle Mexican Grill, City Barbeque, Eat ‘n Park, Eddie V’s, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, LongHorn Steakhouse, Mi Cocina, Olive Garden, Panda Express, Panera Bread, Parkhurst Dining, Seasons 52, Silver Diner, Taco Bell, The Capital Grille, The Cheesecake Factory, Twin Peaks, Velvet Taco, Whataburger, and Willie’s Grill & Icehouse.

For years, the Best Practices Awards have been based on a brand’s retention, traffic, and sales performance. The award winners for their strong performance throughout 2022 were: Eddie V’s, LongHorn Steakhouse, and Panera Bread.

In addition to the Best Practices Awards, two new categories were introduced this year: ‘Voice of the Customer’ and ‘Employer of Choice’.

The Voice of the Customer Award is based on net guest sentiment throughout the year, using customer experience scores from: service, food, beverage, ambiance, value, and intent to return categories. Twin Peaks earned the top spot as a category leader in delivering competitive customer experiences.

We’re proud to receive this award and the work our teams put in to ensure that the Twin Peaks guest experience is second to none,” shared Joe Hummel, CEO at Twin Peaks. “We listen closely to our guest’s reviews on their experience to ensure we are delivering the Twin Peaks experience that keeps us at the forefront of the restaurant industry.”

The Employer of Choice Award is based on workforce data, including criteria from: hourly turnover, management turnover, GM turnover, as well as gender and racial/ethnic diversity. The award winners of this category were: Panda Express, Panera Bread, Olive Garden, Seasons 52, Silver Diner, and The Capital Grille.

Darden, a multi-brand restaurant company, finished the strongest with five winning brands in their portfolio acknowledged for their exceptional performance at the 2023 Best Practices Conference.

“We know that when our team members win, our guests win,” said Sarah King, Chief People and Diversity Officer at Darden. “We’re proud of the employment proposition we’ve built, but we are always working to strengthen it to ensure Darden and our brands remain the employer of choice in full-service dining.”

To round off the ceremony, the 2023 Workplace Legacy Award was proudly presented to Joni and Wally Doolin, founders, investors, and board members of Black Box Intelligence, for their incredible contribution the past 25+ years in making the restaurant industry a better place to work for all.

“Wally and I could not be more humbled or honored to be recognized for this work, and for this community of leaders. From the beginning, the founding members of People Report™ were focused on connecting the dots between the workplace and the marketplace. The growth and evolution of the Black Box Intelligence data and insights have allowed hundreds of brands who collaborate in such a unique way to keep pushing the restaurant industry forward,” said Joni Thomas Doolin.

All award finalists and winners were honored at the Best Practices Conference, hosted January 31st - February 2nd, 2023.

About The Best Practices Conference

The Best Practices Conference is produced by Black Box Intelligence™. Held in Dallas, Texas, this event is a gathering of hundreds of restaurant industry c-suite leadership brought together to tackle some of the most challenging obstacles facing the restaurant industry. The event is also the home of the Best Practice Awards, Voice of the Customer Award, Employer of Choice Award and the Workplace Legacy Award. Dates for the 2024 Best Practices Conference are January 30th - February 1st, at the Westin Irving Convention Center Hotel.

About Black Box Intelligence

Black Box Intelligence™, the leading provider of restaurant performance benchmarking, has officially introduced its platform to GuestXM.™ The GuestXM™ platform provides a new way hospitality brands deliver best-in-class experiences by capturing omnichannel guest feedback with an extensive natural language processing (NLP) model, transforming every interaction into the right action to help your brand reputation and performance grow. GuestXM™ serves more than 300 companies, 2.4 million employees, 100,000 restaurant units and $153 billion in annual sales revenue. For more information, visit

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