What are the Top Quick Service Restaurants in America?

This past August, Market Force (a Boulder, CO firm that researches consumer trends) surveyed 4,500 customers around the nation to find the most popular quick-service locations in the United States. Their finding? That it’s not always the quickest fast-food restaurants that are the favorites.

 

Who are America’s Favorite Quick Service Restaurants?

 

The Market Force survey asked respondents to rate the restaurants in areas like friendly service, atmosphere, food quality, healthful choices, cleanliness, kid-friendless, and greenness/sustainability.

 

“Minimalist” burger restaurant Five Guys didn’t dominate any single category. The chain did however score consistently near the top in every single category. Five Guys emerged as customers’ favorite over all others, coming in at 7%.

 

Coming in right behind them at 5.9% was West Coast burger chain In-N-Out Burger. Chick-fil-A came in third at 4.1%, with Panera Bread a close fourth at 4.0%.

 

Chipotle and Panda Express rounded out the “one percent and over” category with 2.7% and 1%, respectively.

 

But What About McDonald’s?

 

Fast food giant McDonald’s finished the overall survey with only 0.3% of the vote! But this rating only reflects the combined influence of several different categories.

 

McDonald’s actually scored second – just behind Sonic – for speed of service. Along with Burger King, Wendy’s, and Subway, however, it ranked close to the bottom of the overall list.

 

What gives? Aren’t these chains actually more popular than Panera, Five Guys, etc.? After all, you can’t find the top-scoring restaurants just anywhere; in fact, In-N-Out exists almost entirely on the West Coast! But you can find a McDonald’s in virtually every town in America.

 

We think it likely comes down to the fact that the most convenient choices aren’t always our favorites. After all, Panera may take a little longer to make your food than you’d wait to get that Whopper, but you’re a lot more likely to relax for a few minutes in the St. Louis-based bakery chain.

 

Could the survey be skewed? After all, Market Force’s clients include Five Guys, Panda Express, Panera and Sonic…

 

We think this is probably not the case, however. Market Force’s clients also include McDonald’s. If Market Force were going to skew its results in someone’s favor, our guess is that it would be McDonald’s. But this was obviously not the case. We’d like to offer our congratulations to Five Guys, In-N-Out, Chik-fil-A, and Panera!

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