Zagat Fast Food Survey Results Intriguing, Recognize Chain Operators


Zagat Fast Food Survey Results Intriguing, Recognize Chain Operators - Kandessa

Zagat released results of its 2011 Fast Food Survey today. Over 6,000 respondents took part in the survey of dining preferences at quick serve restaurant (QSR) chains.  The survey produced some interesting findings for chain operators:

  • Chick-fil-A ranked third in the QSR Breakfast Sandwich category; Dunkin' Donuts ranked fifth
  • Dairy Queen and Cold Stone Creamery ranked first and second in the best Milkshake category, besting McDonald's and Ben & Jerry's (which both ranked fifth)
  • McDonald's and Chipotle Mexican Grill offer consumers the best value, according to the Zagat Fast Food Survey
  • Zagat's survey honored El Pollo Loco with the top two spot in the Best Grilled Chicken category, boosting the Costa Mesa, Calif. chain's claims to fame for its flavorful, grilled chicken. (Chick-fil-A, ranked first.)
  • In the Top Smoothie/Frozen Yogurt category, Red Mango laid claim on the top spot in Zagat's survey, followed by Pinkberry and Jamba Juice.

A spokesperson for Jamba says that its Zagat rankings have always reflected its positioning with consumers.

Who has the best burger? According to Zagat, relative newcomer Five Guys Burger and Fries ranked first, and western drive-thru icon, In-N-Out Burger, ranked second. Beyond the survey, the findings show that there is still a great deal of opportunity for burger joints to provide consumers with a "better burger."

The recent accelerated pace of growth for national chains, like Smashburger (nearly 120 stores), Five Guys (over 700 restaurants), and Arlington, Virginia-based Elevation Burger, spotlights Americans' quest for great-tasting burgers.

Burger consumers are increasingly looking for differentiation, fresh-never-frozen product, and also more sustainable and organic options. As a tribute to Wendy's continuing turnaround, the chain ranked second in the Best Salad category, bested only by Panera Bread.

Texas-based Jason's Deli, boasting a strong nutritional position in the sandwich category, ranked third in providing the best salads. This, after taking some top honors with Parents Magazine top healthy chains report in recent years.

Among restaurant chains with 5,000 locations or fewer, the most popular and top-rated in service, according to the Zagat Food Survey:

Most Popular Large Chains

  1. Five Guys
  2. Panera Bread
  3. Chipotle Mexican Grill
  4. Chick-fil-A
  5. In-N-Out Burger

Highest Ranked in Service

  1. Chick-fil-A
  2. In-N-Out Burger
  3. Papa Murphy's
  4. Jimmy John's
  5. Panera Bread

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