The 20 best fast food chains in the USA

Survey: Americans' favorite fast food restaurants
Guess where McDonald's ended up?
1. Chick-fil-A
2. Jimmy John’s
3. Domino’s
4. KFC
5. Chipotle
6. Panera Bread
7. Pizza Hut
8. Starbucks
9. Arby’s
10. Five Guys
11. Papa John’s
12. Burger King
13. Little Caesars
14. Panda Express
15. Subway
16. Dairy Queen
17. Dunkin’
18. Sonic
19. Wendy’s
20. Jack in the Box
21. Taco Bell
22. Popeyes
23. McDonald’s
Customers were less happy overall in 2022
Not even in the top 20
Survey: Americans' favorite fast food restaurants

The American Consumer Satisfaction Institute (ACSI) has made its yearly inquiry into the most popular restaurants among U.S. consumers. In this gallery, you'll find the top ten fast-food chains of this moment, including their ranking in the ACSI database.

(Source: theacsi.org)

 

Guess where McDonald's ended up?

It's undoubtedly the best-known fast-food chain on a global level. But what do Americans think of McDonald's? How high do you think it ranks on the customer satisfaction list?

(Image: Jurij Kenda / Unsplash)

1. Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A is the absolute champion of fast-food restaurants. It scored 83 out of 100 in customer satisfaction, both in 2021 and 2022. It has been at the number 1 position for 8 years in a row.

2. Jimmy John’s

Jimmy John's, founded in Champaign, Illinois in 1983, is the second favorite fast-food chain with a score of 79 in both 2021 and 2022. The difference with Chick-fil-A is quite large though: 4 points!

3. Domino’s

Did you know that the pizza chain was founded in 1960 under a different name? It was called DomiNick's! The chain dropped 2 points from 2021 (when it scored 80) and is now in third place with 78 points.

4. KFC

Popular for its tasty fried chicken, and of course for its founder, Colonel Sanders, Kentucky Fried Chicken dropped 1 point compared to 2021 (79). It is nevertheless in a solid fourth place with 78 in 2022.

5. Chipotle

This Mexican-styled chain has the motto 'Food with Integrity,' and continues with the same score as in 2021, 77, thus obtaining the fifth place.

6. Panera Bread

Panera Bread, famous for serving bread plates to die for, is down one point from 2021 (78) and ends up sixth with 77 points in 2022.

7. Pizza Hut

Founded in Kansas in 1958, and world-famous for being the world's largest pizza chain, it has dropped one point and now scores 77 in 2022.

8. Starbucks

The most famous coffee chain in the world dropped two points compared to 2021 (79). It now stands at eighth place with 77 points.

9. Arby’s

This company, founded in 1964 and famous for its roast beef sandwiches, scored 76 in 2022 - one point less than in 2021.

10. Five Guys

It was founded in 1986 by Janie, Jerry Murriel, and their 4 sons, hence the origin of its name: Five Guys. They didn't change it when, 2 years later, a fifth son (and thus sixth guy) was born. The chain dropped 2 points in 2021, obtaining 76 points in 2022.

Picture: Samuel Regan-Asante / Unsplash

 

 

11. Papa John’s

This famous franchise started in a storage wardrobe in the tavern of its founder, John Schnatter. It is the fourth largest in the USA. In 2021 it scored 77, but it dropped 1 point in 2022 (76).

12. Burger King

Known for its grilled meat burgers and its world-famous 'Whopper,' BK is down 1 point compared to 2021, scoring 75 in 2022.

Photo: Marquise de Photographie/ Unsplash

13. Little Caesars

Little Caesars is famous for its very low-cost pizza, but that could not save them from dropping 1 point compared to 2021, scoring 75 in 2022.

14. Panda Express

The American Chinese food chain, founded in 1983, is one of the largest in the USA. It scores 75 points in 2022, down 1 point from 2021.

15. Subway

Founded by 17-year-old Fred DeLuca and financed by Peter Buck in 1965, this sandwich joint is now the world's largest franchise. In the ACSI ranking, it remained the same between 2021 and 2022, at 75 points.

Picture: Keo Oran/ Unsplash

16. Dairy Queen

This ice cream chain opened its first shop in 1940. In the consumer satisfaction ranking, it maintained its 74 points from 2021.

17. Dunkin’

They tried to save their brand by taking out the 'Donuts' from their name and using slogans like "America Runs on Dunkin'," but people continue to turn away from this donut chain. Dunkin' has been one of the biggest losers (3 points) in the ranking, scoring only 74 in 2022, down from 77 in 2021.

Photo: Joan Oger /Unsplash

18. Sonic

Known for its waiter staff on roller skates, Sonic has everything you can order in a fast-food restaurant, plus a famous cherry lemonade. Despite being near the bottom of this list, it is one of the few fast-food chains to have risen one point in its consumer opinions. So that's worth something! In 2021, it had 73, and in 2022, it has 74.

19. Wendy’s

How can we forget their famous square beef burgers and delicious frosty! Yet, the ACSI ranking remained the same at 73 in 2021, making Wendy's the number 19 among U.S. fast-food restaurants.

Photo: michaelform/ Pixabay

20. Jack in the Box

This chain was the first to implement a drive-through service with the use of a two-way intercom system, to ensure faster service. In the ranking, Jack in the Box scored 73 points in 2021 and dropped one point in 2022 (72).

21. Taco Bell

Originally from California and specializing in Tex-Mex food, it has dropped 2 points in 2022 compared to 2021, now scoring 72.

22. Popeyes

Curiously, the origin of its name is not what you were thinking. It has nothing to do with the famous sailorman. This famous fried chicken chain was named after the fictional detective Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle in the 1971 film 'The French Connection.' Its ranking is not great in 2022, dropping 2 points from 74 in 2021.

23. McDonald’s

Finally, in the last place, we have the worldwide known McDonald's. It was already at a low spot last year, but now it decreases another 2 points in comparison with the 70 points of 2021. This year, with 68, McDonald's has the lowest score: 68.

Customers were less happy overall in 2022

As you can see, most fast-food restaurants have gotten a lower score. Some stayed the same (like Wendy's or Subway) and only one went up (Sonic).

Picture: Tetiana Shevereva / Unsplash

 

Not even in the top 20

Shocking to an international audience, which loves McDonald's, it didn't even make the top 20 in its own founders' country!

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