Zagat announces results of fast-food chain survey

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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NEW YORK – Zagat’s annual National Fast-Food Restaurant Survey includes results for four categories: Large Chains (up to 5,000 US outlets), Mega Chains (over 5,000), Quick-Refreshment (focusing on beverages, ice cream and the like) and Full-Service, which is reported separately. This year's survey covers 103 chains as voted on by 6,064 diners.

This year's most popular fast-food chains include:

 Mega Chains   Large Chains   Quick Refreshment
 1. Subway    1. Five Guys   1. Starbucks
 2. McDonald's   2. Panera Bread  2. Dunkin' Donuts
 3. Wendy's    3. Chipotle   3. Culver's
 4. Burger King   4. Chick-fil-A  4. Ben & Jerry's
 5. Taco Bell   5. In-N-Out Burger  5. Cold Stone Creamery

This year's Top Overall Rated chains (averaging food, facilities and service ratings) are:

 Mega Chains  Large Chains Quick Refreshment 
 1. Wendy's  1. Chick-fil-A  1. Pinkberry
 2. Subway  2. In-N-Out Burger  2. Red Mango
 3. McDonald's  3. Papa Murphy's  3. Peet's Coffee & Tea
 4. Pizza Hut  4. Panera Bread  4. Culver's
 5. KFC  5. Chipotle Mexican Grill  5. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
 
Zagat surveyors also named the best fast-food items in a variety of categories including:

  • Burger: Five Guys
  • Fried Chicken: KFC
  • Grilled Chicken: Chick-fil-A
  • Breakfast Sandwiches: McDonald's
  • Value Menu: McDonald's
  • Overall Value: McDonald's
  • Child-Friendly: McDonald's
  • Drive-Thru: McDonald's
  • Wings: Buffalo Wild Wings

According to the survey, 69 percent of diners favor calorie count displays; moreover 55 percent report that their dining behavior has been influenced by such calorie counts.

"For better or for worse, fast-food is a major part of American culture, with our average surveyor eating at chain restaurants nearly 11 times per month,” said Tim Zagat, CEO of Zagat Survey. “It's worth noting the majority of surveyors are taking their health seriously and are demanding transparency from the industry. It's also encouraging to see chain restaurants stepping up and offering healthier options."

For the third year in a row, Subway wins for Top Healthy Options, Top Service and Most Popular Mega-Chain. Jason's Deli (Large Chain), and survey newcomer Red Mango (Quick Refreshment) also rank No. 1 for Healthy Options.

A new category this year is Best Wings. The inaugural award goes to fast-food chain Buffalo Wild Wings; KFC followed.

Explaining its success, McDonald's (with more than 33,000 units worldwide) topped a host of categories including Best Value, Best French Fries, Best Breakfast Sandwich, Most Child Friendly and Best Drive-Thru.

This year's champ for Best Burger is Five Guys Burgers & Fries. In second place is cult-favorite In-N-Out Burger, followed by Wendy's where it's 'hip to be square' (burger patties), Burger King and McDonald's.

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