Trader Joe's Tops Yelp's List Of Most Loved Brands Of 2023

There's no denying that Trader Joe's appeals to people. The love shoppers have for the grocery chain translates to over $16 billion in yearly revenue from its more than 500 stores across the U.S. But what is it about Trader Joe's that has attracted such a loyal customer base? It's not the only chain, after all, that offers quality products at affordable prices; although it certainly stands out with a kitschy nautical theme and employees who hold ranks more commonly associated with merchant ships than grocery stores.

Brand loyalty can be hard to quantify, but judging from at least one recent calculation, perhaps no business has more of it than Trader Joe's. That calculation was courtesy of Yelp, which recently released a brand new list of the "most loved brands" in the U.S. Lest anyone doubts Yelp's authority in such matters, it should be noted that the company's online directories inspired more than 240 million reviews in 2021 alone (via Statista). Yelp's annual restaurant rankings have also become quite influential.

So it definitely matters that Trader Joe's sat atop the rankings in Yelp's first list of this kind. The win is especially impressive given that the rankings include so many different types of businesses, from restaurants and groceries to department stores and bridal boutiques. What was Yelp's methodology, you might ask? It's rather fascinating actually.

The most loved food brands

According to Yelp, the methodology for the ranking was based on both ratings and reviews, as well as a return factor; meaning multiple page views by the same users. And no, not just any store could qualify. The ranking was limited to chains with a minimum of 200 locations in at least half of all U.S. states.

Yelp noted several trends while compiling data for ranking. Not surprisingly, customers like chains that give good value. More interesting, perhaps, was the community-oriented focus shared by the top-ranked brands. Yelp's Director of Multi-Locations Solutions, Kadecia Ber, said, "Trader Joe's and First Watch, for example, make their customers feel like they're in a local grocery store or diner. The employees know the locals and often go out of their way to help customers – this is what consumers value and reward."

This isn't the first accolade of this sort for Trader Joe's. Between 2013 and 2015, it was voted American consumers' favorite grocery chain each year, per survey data from Market Force Information. Those findings relied on responses from 7,200 people, and it appears that many of them also indicated that "the neighborhood feel" of the chain was an important factor. But a victory in Yelp's "most loved brands" is perhaps even more indicative of the chain's widespread appeal. It wasn't just Trader Joe's that logged an impressive finish. Following close behind in the inaugural Yelp rankings were Nothing Bundt Cakes, Kung Fu Tea, and First Watch.