Chick-fil-A serves up top customer satisfaction scores, McDonald’s gets fried in new survey

LongHorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden and Texas Roadhouse rank first for full service

FILE - This July 19, 2012, file photo, shows a Chick-fil-A fast food restaurant in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)
FILE - This July 19, 2012, file photo, shows a Chick-fil-A fast food restaurant in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Chick-fil-A had the “pleasure” of taking the top spot in customer satisfaction in a national ranking of fast-food chains.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index said that based on its 2020-21 restaurant survey, the Georgia-based chain received a score of 83, ranking as the top chain for the seventh year in a row.

The study’s rankings were based on interviews with 19,423 customers chosen at random, from April 1, 2020, to March 29. The study looked at full-service, or dine-in, restaurants, as well as limited, or fast-food, chains.

Customers gave scores on a variety of topics like order accuracy, restaurant cleanliness, food quality, menu variety, staff helpfulness and mobile app quality.

The customer satisfaction rankings for limited-service fast-food chains, according to the ACSI, are:

  1. Chick-fil-A: 83
  2. Domino’s: 80
  3. (tied) KFC and Starbucks: 79
  4. (tied) Panera Bread, Pizza Hut and Five Guys: 78
  5. (tied) Arby’s, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Dunkin’, Papa John’s and Burger King: 77

The bottom-ranked chain is McDonald’s, which had a score of 70. The four chains with a score of 73 include Jack in the Box, Popeye’s, Sonic and Wendy’s.

Overall satisfaction with the fast-food industry had a score of 78, but despite hurdles due to the pandemic, full-service restaurants were seemingly more enjoyable, as satisfaction climbed 1.3% for a score of 80.

ACSI’s customer satisfaction ranking for full-service restaurant chains is:

  1. (tied) LongHorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden and Texas Roadhouse: 80
  2. (tied) Cracker Barrel, Outback Steakhouse and Red Robin: 78
  3. (tied) Applebee’s, Chili’s, Red Lobster, TGI Fridays and The Cheesecake Factory: 77
  4. (tied) Buffalo Wild Wings and Denny’s: 76
  5. IHOP: 74

The study showed that full-service restaurants had the second-highest customer satisfaction rate by industry, ranking behind breweries.

David VanAmburg, the managing director at the ACSI, said success can be attributed to how restaurants have adapted during the pandemic.

“People are slowly starting to enjoy sitting down at restaurants again, but don’t discount the value of convenience,” David VanAmburg said in a news release. “During the pandemic, folks got a taste for what it’s like to have food from their favorite restaurants delivered right to their door. And now that they’ve gotten used to this service, there’s no going back. Restaurants need to continue to give customers all the options they’ve become accustomed to over the last year and a half. If not, they might grab a bite somewhere else.”

Subscription television and internet service providers had the lowest satisfaction rates with scores of 65 each.

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About the Author:

Rebecca Salinas has worked as a digital journalist in San Antonio for six years. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.