America’s Favorite Fast-Food Chain Is More Satisfying Than Ever

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America's top-ranked fast-food restaurant actually improved its score since last year, according to an annual survey.

For the second year in a row, Chick-fil-A is the No. 1 fast-food restaurant based on customer satisfaction.

The chain not only held onto its first-place position but also improved its score since last year, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s annual restaurant report.

The report is based on surveys of 4,786 customers collected in March.

The ACSI has been rating and ranking restaurants since at least 1995, when Wendy’s earned the No. 1 spot with a score of 73 out of 100.

Chick-fil-A debuted on ACSI’s restaurant report last year, earning the top spot with a score of 86 — the highest score ever for a restaurant in the fast-food category.

This year, the chicken-centric chain did it again, earning the top spot by bringing its score to a new high in the fast-food category: 87.

The next-highest score this year, 82, went to Papa John’s. The pizza chain often held the No. 1 spot prior to Chick-fil-A’s debut, according to the ACSI.

The chain that improved the most from last year is Little Caesars, which saw its score rise from 74 to 81. Little Caesars tied with Panera Bread for the No. 3 spot.

Chipotle Mexican Grill’s score fell the most, from 83 to 78. David VanAmburg, ACSI managing director, attributes this slide to the recent spate of E. coli outbreaks at Chipotle restaurants in multiple states:

“Higher quality drives the improving scores for the industry, but quality issues relating to food-borne illnesses knock down Chipotle. Just as Netflix’s stock took a dive after the singular event of its pricing and Qwikster branding misstep in 2011, Chipotle’s stock also has fallen after its food-quality crisis. Netflix rebounded rather quickly, but it can take more time for a restaurant to recover from quality issues.”

The average score this year was a 79.

The chains on the ACSI this year and their scores are:

  • Chick-fil-A: 87
  • Papa John’s: 82
  • Little Caesars: 81
  • Panera Bread: 81
  • Dunkin’ Donuts: 80
  • Subway: 80
  • Arby’s: 80
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill: 78
  • KFC (Yum! Brands): 78
  • Domino’s: 78
  • Pizza Hut (Yum! Brands): 77
  • Wendy’s: 76
  • Burger King: 76
  • Taco Bell (Yum! Brands): 75
  • Starbucks: 75
  • Jack in the Box: 74
  • McDonald’s: 69

Which chain would you rank No. 1? Let us know why by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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