Five Guys Takes Top Spot Again in This Year’s Market Force Survey
Market Force has released this year’s results for their annual survey determining the country’s favorite quick-service restaurant, and Five Guys Burgers and Fries has taken the top spot again. The market research firm holds an annual survey of thousands of consumers to find out their choices for the best fast food and other quick-service chains. Five Guys also took the number 1 position last year and managed to hold onto it.
The better quality burger chain received top honors by garnering the most votes per store location. This proof of their popularity supports the rapid growth and expansion that the chain has been focusing on for the past few years. As they expand into new regions and markets, they’re winning over the fans of other burger chains quickly. Food quality and customer service don’t suffer at this chain’s locations, even when the restaurant is busy.
In-N-Out Burger took the 2nd place position, despite being mostly limited to the West Coast. This is the chain’s first year in the top three rankings. Brand loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising also worked out well for In-N-Out Burger this year. Chik-fil-A, the number 3 quick-service chain, shared great customer service as a identifying trait with the other two winners.
The survey polled over 4,500 consumers across the country on their quick-service restaurant preferences in August 2011. Not only where customers asked to rank their favorite QSR chains, but they were also asked about the features and attributes that are most important to them. To keep the rankings fair and balanced, Market Force took the total number of votes for each chain and averaged them according to the number of stores. This ensured that small chains with big followings would get the recognition they deserved.
One part of the survey listed the top 55 QSR chains in America, and customers picked Chik-fil-A the most on this list, giving them over 10% of their votes. Subway and Panera Bread won this part of the survey last year, but Subway dropped to fifth place in these rankings. Overall winner Five Guys came in third behind Panera Bread this year.
Once these total votes were divided and averaged according to store location numbers, Five Guys emerged on top. They received 7% of the total votes despite having less than half of the locations of Chik-fil-a or Panera Bread. This made them more popular among the people who have a local Five Guys branch. Market Force’s reasoning beyond this method states that if the chain had as many locations as its competitors for the top spot, it would capture a comparable part of the total votes.
Chains were ranked the most aggressively in the Friendly Service category, with many chains receiving terrible scores and a few gaining top marks. Taste varied the least among QSR chains, but food quality saw McDonald’s at the bottom of the list despite winning high marks for speed. In-N-Out Burger ranked 2nd for both service and value. Taco Bell fared poorly in other measures but did win the Overall Value category.
Consumers also ranked their favorite QSR chains on their offerings of healthy food items, their accommodations for children, attempts to be more environmentally friendly and the atmosphere. Panera Bread took the Atmosphere category with nearly 100 points over the next highest ranked restaurant. Chik-fil-a topped the Accommodating Children list with a lead well over 100 points above McDonald’s in 2nd place. Subway won with healthy choices and Chipotle Mexican Grill is seen as the most sustainable QSR chain.
Another Market Force survey also contributed information that was used to build the Consumer Delight Index. This graph plots the overall happiness and likelihood of a recommendation to others based on a consumer’s last meal at the chain. Five Guys reached the highest point on this index as well, followed by Panera Bread and Chipotle. Consumers responding the survey ranged in age from 70 to 18, and represented a broad spectrum of income levels. Over 70% of respondents were women, which indicates that these figures may also be weighted with mothers planning for their family’s meals, especially with half of consumers indicating that they share a home with children.