American Fast Food and Fast Casual Restaurants, Ranked by Customer Satisfaction
We also have the inside scoop on the most favored fast casual and full service restaurants.
At Thrillist, we hold rankings in particular reverence. Our yearly Fasties are a labor of love to determine where the best of everything fast food is offered, so we understand the passion that comes from creating a ranking.
Now, the 2021-2022 American Customer Satisfaction Index restaurant study, based on interviews with over 20,000 customers, determined a ranking of fast food, fast casual, and full service restaurants that left customers most satisfied.
First up, let's get into which fast food and fast casual chains leave Americans feeling most satisfied. For the eighth year in a row, Chick-fil-A tops the satisfaction charts across all restaurants, including full service, fast food, and fast casual, with a satisfaction index of 83 out of 100.
Jimmy John's, Domino's, KFC, Chipotle, and Panera Bread follow the chicken chain. The top spots are a true medley of fast food and fast casual options. However, the chains that customers were least satisfied with were all fast food chains; Taco Bell, Popeye's, and McDonald's came in last, respectively. You can see the complete ranking below:
When it comes to full service restaurants, LongHorn Steakhouse comes out on top, followed closely by Texas Roadhouse, Cracker Barrel, Fridays, and Olive Garden. At the bottom of the satisfaction ranking were Buffalo Wild Wings, Applebee's, and IHOP. Overall, respondents to the study were more satisfied with full service restaurants. The restaurants had an overall satisfaction rating of 80 out of 100, while fast food chains had a satisfaction rating of 76 out of 100.
The reason that consumers tend to have a preference for full service restaurants comes down to some pretty basic reasoning. "Customers agree that sit-down spots outperform fast food chains when it comes to food order accuracy (87 to 83), restaurant layout and cleanliness (84 to 81), food quality (86 to 81), and food variety (84 to 79)," the ACSI study reported.
Now that you've got all this information, do you agree or disagree with your fellow consumer? Do you find KFC more satisfying than Popeye's, or do you think your opinion might've changed the rankings?