For the sixth straight year, Chick-fil-A is America’s favorite fast-food restaurant in a major consumer survey.
The 2020 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), based on interviews with 23,312 customers, placed Chick-fil-A No. 1 in customer satisfaction among fast-food restaurants, followed in order by Chipotle Mexican Grill, Arby’s, Domino’s, Dunkin’, KFC, Panera Bread, Subway, Papa John’s and Starbucks at No. 10. McDonald’s finished last, at No. 19.
It’s the sixth straight that Chick-fil-A has topped the ACSI survey, even though its score fell from 86 to 84. By comparison, second-place Chipotle had a score of 80.
“The undisputed industry leader is Chick-fil-A despite a 2 percent decline to an ACSI score of 84,” the report said. “... Although its ACSI score is lower compared with prior years, Chick-fil-A continues to be a pacesetter across much of the customer experience. The chicken specialist has grown to become one of the top U.S. fast-food chains by system-wide sales. Per location in 2019, Chick-fil-A sales were over 50% higher than McDonald’s per-unit sales.”
Chick-fil-A’s mission statement, in part, is to “glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.” The business model is based on “biblical principles,” according to its website. Its restaurants are closed on Sundays.
Popeyes, which had a high-profile social media spat with Chick-fil-A after releasing its own premium chicken sandwich in 2019, finished No. 15. The ACSI report said the data shows that Popeyes “has a long road ahead to catch up with its chicken rivals for customer satisfaction. In particular, Popeyes falls behind leader Chick-fil-A the most when it comes to service quality.”
Among other top brands, Burger King finished 12th, Wendy’s 14th and Taco Bell 17th.
Fast-food restaurants, the report said, are “better positioned” to weather the pandemic economic storm with “an estimated 70% of its business” taking place through a drive-thru.
“In addition,” the report said, “the cheaper price tag that most fast food outlets offer may be appealing to consumers tightening their budgets amid the pandemic.”
Among full-service restaurants, Longhorn Steakhouse finished No. 1, followed by Texas Roadhouse, Cracker Barrel, Olive Garden and Red Lobster at No. 5.
“Known as a dining destination experience, highway-focused Cracker Barrel may find it challenging to succeed in a market that stresses digital interfaces, takeout, and delivery,” the report said. “According to ACSI data, the quality of the chain’s mobile app has deteriorated significantly, now lagging nearly every other chain. Recently, in April 2020, the company announced a partnership with DoorDash to deliver its comfort food to customers. At the same time, Cracker Barrel hopes to get guests in the door by adding beer and wine to its menu.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Tom Pennington/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.