Consumer Reports magazine has released the results of its latest national survey of chain restaurants—and for once, the results are not surprising. The big winners were In-N-Out Burger (in the Burger category), Chipotle (in the Mexican category) and Chick-fil-A (in the Chicken category), all three of which have loyal, enthusiastic followings. In-N-Out scored the highest overall rating of the 53 chains in the survey, with 88 out of 100 possible points. Their only failing (besides their refusal to cross the Mississippi) was a half-circle deduction in "speed." Quality takes time!
The chains that did worst in the survey were McDonald's, KFC and Taco Bell, all of which also underperformed in the recently-released American Customer Satisfaction Index. (The three Consumer Reports successes were probably included in the mysterious "All Others" category in the Satisfaction Index.)
The results matched up well with the results of the last Consumer Reports burger survey, which also saw the top slot go to In N' Out.
Consumer Reports noted that the survey's results showed that consumers want better food in chain restaurants—even, potentially, at the cost of slightly worse service. The sharpest divide between the best-performing brands and the worst-performing came in ratings for food, not service. The worst ratings went to pizza chain Sbarro, which scored just 63 total points. It received the lowest-possible classification, a black circle, in both food and value.