9/27/2012 12:11:00 AM

2012 Fast-Food Survey Results Are Live!

Wendy's was a big winner this year.
Today we're releasing the results of our annual Fast-Food Survey, and you don't have to make a trip to the drive-thru to get them. This year, 10,554 voters weighed in on their favorite chain restaurants, ranging from the Golden Arches to a certain Seattle-based coffee chain. The convenience of these establishments makes them super-popular - the surveyors averaged 9.4 meals a month at chains, with 5.8 at fast-food restaurants and 3.6 at full-service eateries. That's an amazing 1.2 million chain meals per year. Not quite one billion served, but still pretty impressive.

So, who were the winners?! Subway was the Most Popular of the larger mega-chains (with 5,000 locations or more) and also took the prize for Service, but it was a little girl named Wendy's who racked up the most major wins this go-round in the mega-chain category, ranking as the Top Overall Chain and taking first place in the Food and Decor/Facilities lists. Among the smaller guys (100 to 5,000 U.S. outposts), In-N-Out was the real winner, taking the Top Food, Most Popular, Top Service and Top Overall awards.

Delving deeper into the survey, Starbucks was rated the Most Popular Quick-Refreshment chain (coffee, ice cream, frozen yogurt and smoothies), but Caribou Coffee edged them out, winning the Top Overall award in that group. Can you say java war? And while Cheesecake Factory was the most popular full-service establishment, it was Cheddar's that won Top Food, Top Decor/Facilities and Top Overall.

And finally, the award you've all been waiting for - Five Guys was voted the best Fast-Food Burger in the United States! In-N-Out may have dominated in the other categories, but its burger wound up at number four on this list. They don't get to do all the gloating, though, because surveyors said McDonald's still has the best french fries.

Check out the top rankings in categories like Food, Decor and Service in the slideshow below, and click here to see a post on how everyone's food (yes, and burgers) stacks up.

27 comments :

  1. It is amazing to me that Houston's is never mentioned in these results. Is it just too good (or too expensive?) to qualify as a "full service chain?" Because that's exactly what it is. It is by far and away the best out of all of those any way you look at it..

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  2. In-N-Out and Five Guys can not compare with the quality of Whataburger.

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    1. No way...Five Guys blows away Whataburger!

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    2. People fail to understand Whataburger's niche; they are "old-fashioned" style hamburgers. I like Five Guys, and In-N-Out too, but Whataburger wins every time with service, food quality and decor.

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    3. Totally agree, Whataburger is the best damn food chain out there! Love the breakfast menu and the size of all their servings!

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    4. The Whataburgers in Arizona are old, run down, no a/c in the restrooms and the parking lots are full of holes and ruts. They need a bit of a makeover if you know what I mean.

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    5. Five guys is the only burger place where it is all fresh not just claiming to be fresh. They hand make their patties every morning. That is quality at its beat.

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  3. Id love to see a much bigger sample size. 0.000028% of the population is hard to make any educated assumptions from.

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    1. Agreed. And how do we not know the people surveyed are skewed to live in a certain region where regional restaurants aren't located.

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  4. How sad that Zagat now concerns itself with fast food burgers.

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    1. Why? Good or bad, food is food. Remember that the lowly egg has brought down many a great chef...:>)

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  5. Care to show me where Five Guys won ANY title? In N Out was top dog on everything involving a burger or large fast-food.

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    1. It's shown in another article (there were a bunch of fast-food articles all mentioned in a Zagat e-mail).

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  6. In N out is AMAZING. IF YOU HAVE NOT HAD IT, YOU NEED TO; ITS THE BEST BURGER JOINT AROUND

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    1. in what part of the country are these restaurants?

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  7. Zagat fast food survey lost all credibility when Little Caesars showed up in the rankings. Seriously, best fast food pizza?

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  8. Where the hell is jack in the box - blows taco bell away!

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  9. So, the article mentions "best burger", but there's no slide for it??

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    1. Never mind. It's shown in another survey.

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  10. wheres firehouse subs on this list????

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