The results are in, and Americans have spoken. They have ranked the best fast food restaurants in the 2015 American Customer Satisfaction Index Restaurant Report. A total of 18 chains were ranked on a scale of 0-100, and the rating based on a combination of staff, courtesy, speed of checkout or delivery, quality of the food and order accuracy. As a whole, the fast food industry saw a drop in satisfaction, and the average score is actually four percent lower than it was last year. Here are the rankings of fast food restaurants in America.
18. MCDONALD’S – 67
Wikipedia The fast food giant has seen profits slip each quarter over the last year. Americans are not loving it anymore when it comes to McDonald’s. The chain has tried to redefine itself as more than just a burger joint, but nothing has really taken hold. They have tried to introduce healthier options but still can’t shake the unhealthy label. In an effort to beef up their burger sales, they have rolled out new burgers with fresher ingredients, but Americans are shying away from burgers as a whole. This is not a good sign for the chain.
This really shouldn’t be a surprise. The competition for burger joints has increased dramatically in recent years. Places like Five Guys, SmashBurger and a few other growing chains are offering a better burger while the larger chains are losing appeal.
The large Mexican fast food chain has seen a lot of competition from large chains like Chipotle and even Moe’s, which offer fresher choices. Taco Bell has taken a hit over ingredients and customer satisfaction in recent years. Not long ago, the company took some heat for its beef, or lack thereof in its meat. Americans responded by staying away.
Surprise! Another burger joint near the bottom. Burger King has managed to stay ahead of their main competitor, McDonald’s, but that isn’t saying much at this point. Burger King finds itself in the same boat as McDonald’s with a shrinking market for fast food burgers. However, BK offers more choices and has been effective in marketing food choices other than burgers. It still isn’t enough to boost confidence though.
14. KFC — 73
Wikipedia KFC has battled negative stereotypes about its food. However, they are bringing back the Colonel and are trying to appeal to families rather than individuals. It has seen mixed results, and KFC is closing a few stores around the country as the bottom line is being affected. It has also seen an increase in competition in the chicken market and Americans love the new horse in the race.
Another major burger chain ranking near the bottom of the list. Wendy’s does have an edge over Burger King and McDonald’s in that people generally view its food as fresher and with healthier options. However, it seems as if America is in love with the newer burger chains and that has cut into profits of the major chains.
The sandwich restaurant is having a tough time keeping up with the larger sandwich chains like Subway. It is also having a tough time convincing the masses that its sandwich meats are fresh and healthy like Subway’s.
People were turned off by the long waits, higher prices and middling quality. Sure, Starbucks still does a bustling business, but the coffee giant is seeing competition sneaking ahead. The chain also suffered from a bad PR move that asked baristas to discuss racial issues. People want coffee, not a racial discussion.
The first of the large pizza chains on this list, Little Caesar’s suffers from limited restaurants and a saturated market. Most Americans have their local pizza place and stick with it, usually ordering from the larger chains only out of convenience.
It is expanding its menu to include much more than just pizza. The problem is that is is often not as good as the local pizza place. The market is saturated and the big chains have trouble keeping up. The consumer wants fresh ingredients, and the bigger chains have a hard time convincing folks they are fresh.
Eat fresh is Subway’s slogan and it has been a fast-growing chain for years. However, people are getting bored with the small sandwiches even if they are made with fresher ingredients than some other fast food restaurants. It looked like Subway was destined to take over the fast food industry only a little while ago, but some of the steam has been let out. That said, it is still going strong.
7. DUNKIN’ DONUTS – 78
Wikipedia Dunkin’ Donuts has undergone a massive overhaul. The coffee is cheaper than most and while the donuts aren’t the draw anymore, the chain does offer some solid food alternatives. Mostly it is their coffee that has the chain rising up the ranks.
6. PIZZA HUT – 78
Wikipedia This is a solid score for a pizza place that doesn’t deliver from all locations. However, it is familiar and some people depend on that at times. It hasn’t tried to reinvent itself, but has offered interesting takes on pizzas, especially with crusts.
The glut of pizza chains in the middle of the pack continues. Papa John’s is a pizza that people either love or hate. That goes with most pizza though. Papa John’s has grown since its partnerships with the NFL and other local sports teams.
Panera gets some pretty high marks because it represents a fresher sandwich choice and has hot soups along with other quick grabs. It does its baking on premises, which adds to the customers’ satisfaction.
This group contains a lot of different restaurants like Hardee’s, Boston Market and many others. Mostly they are regional chains, and they tend to do a little better because of that. There is something about local pride that actually does factor in to people’s decisions to eat there. It also draws people who are not from the area as they pass through. These businesses tend to be smaller so there is generally a better customer experience.
2. CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL – 83
The service is quick and the food is good. It is kind of like an assembly line when you order, but it is effective and people get what they want. Even lines out the door go quickly. It is easy to see why fans of Mexican food make this a ritual stop.
It does one thing and it does it well. The chicken sandwich is why people go and the customer service is among the best when it comes to fast food. It is also one of the fastest-growing fast food chains these days, so more and more people are able to get chicken sandwiches.