Where does your favorite fast food restaurant stand with other consumers?

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Chick-fil-A edges out In-and-Out Burger in the latest survey

As survey after survey has proven for the last six years, Chick-fil-A is doing things right – at least in the consumer’s mind. A new study from consumer research firm Market Force gives the fast food chain another pat on the back.

According to the study conducted on fast food/fast casual customer experiences over the last three months, Chick-fil-A claimed the crown in five different metrics: food quality, restaurant atmosphere, speed of service, staff friendliness, and overall value. Added up, Chick-fil-A scored 84% on Market Force’s loyalty index, but just by a little in front of In-and-Out Burger. Burger King, Jack in the Box, and McDonald’s brought up the rear.

Other winners include: Coffee/Breakfast/Bakery – Dutch Bros.; Dessert/Snacks – Baskin-Robbins; Tacos/Mexican Food – Taco John’s; Pizza – Papa Murphy’s; Sandwiches – Jersey Mike’s; Burger’s – In-N-Out Burger. 

Making the customer happy rules

When things go wrong, what chain does the best in fixing things? For the consumer, it’s Bojangles. The chicken chain ranked as the brand with the least problem experiences. 

“We find that only In-N-Out Burger, Dutch Brothers Coffee, Jersey Mike’s, and Papa Murphy’s do reasonably well in handling problems and providing customer satisfying recovery. Any brand taking problem handling as a [key performance indicator] is likely to make significant gains in its cuisine category,” the researchers said.

“Further, our data suggest that good performance in problem handling is strongly related to building and maintaining brand trust.”

Is politics an influence?

Despite the love, Chick-fil-A might want to do some relationship counseling. Starbucks, too.

In asking consumers about brand image and values, those two chains showed a concerning amount of polarization. McDonald’s and Papa John’s also felt that polarizing pinch but not to the same degree.

The analysts said that once a consumer falls in – or out – of love with a brand, the “stickiness” of those experiences can be hard to change. As evidence, they pointed to Firehouse Subs.

“If there’s an outright winner across cuisine types and brands, that winner is Firehouse Subs, who receive high positive affinity marks and no negative consumer associations.”

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