Taco Bell led the charge not because it serves authentic and fresh Mexican cuisine -- it definitely doesn't -- but because of the brand's tendency to create wild stunt foods that stoners love. As Amir Kanpurwala, the director of the survey, said: "Taco Bell’s marketing is ubiquitous so it wasn’t surprising to me that they came out on top this year. It’s not so much that Moe’s or Chipotle are falling off the map. Taco Bell has just been a stronger brand as of late, as demonstrated by the strong familiarity and consideration marks.”
Chipotle, while still a wildly popular brand with its own share of cultish fans, has suffered remarkably in recent years, due to its sluggish recovery from a series of food borne illness outbreaks in 2015 that tarnished its public image.