New Market Force Study Reveals Americans’ Favorite Fast Food Restaurants



Market Force Information, a global leader in customer experience, released the results of a nationwide study revealing which fast food restaurant chains (QSRs) consumers prefer, based on their satisfaction. More than 9,500 consumers were polled for the study, which ranks the best restaurants in four popular food categories: pizza, Mexican dishes, sandwiches and chicken.

New Market Force Study Reveals America's Favorite Fast Food RestaurantsPeachtree Corners, Georgia ( The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the world as we know it. For the fast food industry, the most powerful measure of success has changed. The reason why customers chose one restaurant over another turned into a dynamic storyline defined by visitor satisfaction and brand confidence, each playing on each other throughout the course. life of consumer engagement. The competitive benchmark study examines these changes by determining why customers prefer one brand over another, looking at factors such as service, trust, food quality, value, and technology. There are clearly winners and losers in each category highlighted in the results below.

Burgers: In-N-Out is a fan favorite, McDonald’s Lands at the Bottom

In-N-Out fans are known for their fierce loyalty and – in many cases – their appeals to this regional burger chain to bring a location to their city. The famous Californian chain ranked # 1 with 71%, 3, followed by Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Culvers. On the other hand, Carl’s Jr., Burger King and McDonald’s had the lowest scores among the 11 chains studied. The study found that Five Guys Burgers and Fries was rated highest for food quality with 73.6% demonstrating their high focus on execution in each restaurant.

Chicken: Chick-fil-A and Raising Cane’s excel in consumer satisfaction and loyalty

The fast-food restaurant battle for chicken sandwich sales has yet to lose steam by 2021. Chick-fil-A took first place in Market Force’s 2021 QSR study with 76%, just slightly higher than Raising Cane, who gained 72%. The leader of the Chick-fil-A category received the highest scores in each category. Raising Cane’s was the leader in terms of overall satisfaction. Recognized by a 2021 Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award, Raising Cane’s received strong ratings for staff friendliness and helpfulness.

Pizza: Carry Out Chain Little Caesars takes the pie

The ease and affordability of pizza has made it a pandemic staple for many families and a rare bright spot for the fast food industry as a whole. Little Caesars, with its Reserve-N-Ready pizza, is the leader in food quality for consumers, earning it # 1 with 54%. “Reserve-N-Ready” allows customers to order directly from the mobile app or website and when the order is ready, customers receive a notification, go to the store and pick up the pizza without any direct contact. Consumers ranked Papa John’s as a favorite for overall service (55%), while Pizza Hut staff came out on top as the friendliest (52%) in this highly competitive category.

Mexican: Chipotle and Del Taco take the lead

At the big Mexican grill showdown, Chipotle, known for its highly customizable burritos and bowls, takes the title of consumer favorite for overall satisfaction. With Del Taco and El Pollo Loco, the country’s leading chain of fire-grilled chicken restaurants following close behind. El Pollo Loco’s menu offerings stood out with diners, who ranked it # 1 in the food quality category. El Pollo Loco has also increased accessibility to healthier food options. Del Taco, Mexico’s second-largest quick-service restaurant chain in the country, led the pack for fast, friendly service.

Sandwiches: Consumers prefer Jersey Mike’s and Firehouse for sandwiches

The sandwich war continued, with the big brands vying for the overall share of stomachs. Jersey Mike’s and Firehouse Subs are by far the nation’s favorite sandwich chains, according to the Market Force study. Customers can place take-in-store or pick-up orders through the Jersey Mike’s website or app, making it a convenient choice for its digital experience. Both brands scored 80% on overall satisfaction. Jimmy John’s and Panera also made it to the top of the list.

To see the full study results plus additional categories, download the Competitive Benchmark Study at

Survey demographics

The survey was conducted online in the first quarter of 2021 across the United States. The pool of 9,555 respondents represented a representative sample of the four census regions of the United States and reflected a wide range of income levels, with 67% reporting household income in excess of $ 50,000 per year. Respondents’ ages ranged from 18 to over 65. About 71% were women and 28% were men.


For each category, study participants were asked to select the QSR restaurant they most recently visited from a list of restaurants with at least 100 locations in the United States. Only restaurant brands selected by at least 2% of participants in each category were classified and analyzed.

For more information on Market Force services for the restaurant industry, visit

About information on market forces

Market Force Information® is a customer experience (CX) and employee engagement (EX) management company that provides location-level measurement solutions that help businesses protect their brand reputation , satisfy their customers and earn more money. Solutions include customer experience surveys, employee engagement surveys, mystery shopping, contact center services and social media review tracking, which are integrated into a technology and analytics platform, KnowledgeForce®. Founded in 2005, Market Force has a growing global presence, with offices in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. It serves over 200 clients who operate multi-site businesses, including restaurants, large retailers, grocery and drug stores, petro / convenience stores, banking and financial institutions, and entertainment brands. The company was recognized as one of the top 50 market research organizations in the AMA Gold report. For more information on Market Force, please visit us online at


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