The Best & Worst of fast foods

The Lempert Report
July 25, 2014

For millennials, many of the traditional chains have lagged in offering higher-quality ingredients.

According to Consumer Reports’ latest fast-food survey Americans are spending more than ever to dine out—topping $680 billion per year. And guess what? They want more for their money, better quality and greater variety than what you can get at your typical fast food chain. 

After dining on close to 100,000 meals at 65 chains, approximately 32,500 Consumer Reports subscribers’ told Consumer Reports that the quality of the food has become more important in their dining decisions and convenience of location is less so than previously thought. Why? Possibly traditional fast-food chains are losing their edge: Diners, especially millennials, seem more willing go out of their way to get a tasty meal.

For millennials, options like Chipotle, Panera offer higher quality ingredients but are also inexpensive. In contrast, many of the traditional chains have lagged in offering higher-quality ingredients. 

Several big fast foods joints didn't fare as well in customer opinion. According to diners, McDonald's ranked last in burgers. Of 21 burger chains national and regional, McDonald's was at the very bottom, with a 5.8 rating. At the top was a regional chain, The Habit Burger Grill, rating 8.1. KFC ranked last in chicken. Of eight chicken chains, KFC finished in the cellar with a 7.1 rating. At the top was Chick-fil-A, with an 8.0 rating. Taco Bell ranked last in burritos. Of eight Mexican chains, Taco Bell was at the bottom with a 6.3 rating. Chipotle finished on top with 7.8.

The few  who did well? In-N-Out Burger, Jason’s Deli, Papa Murphy’s Take ’N’ Bake Pizza, Portillo’s Hot Dogs, and The Habit Burger Grill.