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Voters Choose Top Fast Food Chains

May 21, 2014 | By | No Comments

Whether you are willing to take the leap and try something new the next time you’re on the road or you’re just ready to explore a new fast food venue in your hometown, the sheer number of choices can leave your head spinning.

Stifle that urge to run screaming with open arms back to your old standby. Instead, if you’re truly ready for some fresh ideas to grab a quick bite, a recent Business Insider survey naming the top fast food chains has got you covered.

Take a look at what survey participants believed to be the top dog in burgers, pizza and more, then use the free new iPhone app, ChainWise, to find fast food chains near you. No doubt you are likely to find one or two old favorites mentioned below, but you may also find a few vote-getters you have always passed by.

Of course, the final taste test will be yours.

Best Overall Fast Food Chains

1. Chick-fil-AWhen it came to best overall fast food chain, Chick-fil-A beat out such past favorites as McDonald’s and Wendy’s. Not only do diners enjoy the chain’s signature menu favorites of chicken fillet sandwiches, shakes and waffle fries, but the company drew strong praise for cleanliness and service. If you’ve made Chick-Fil-A a favorite on ChainWise but you see it has no nearby locations, take heart in knowing the chain is undergoing a massive expansion.

fast food chains

Chick Fil A is tops with voters among fast food chains.

2. Chipotle Mexican Grill. This Mexican food chain soared past a number of popular burger joints to come as close as just one percentage point behind top vote-getter Chick-fil-A. Survey participants gave Chipolte very high marks in quality of ingredients as well as ethics, edging them upward past longer-established chains.

3. McDonald’s. You knew the burger giant would show up somewhere near the top of any list of fast food chains, didn’t you? Survey participants found the familiarity and predictability of McDonald’s menu appealing, although others who chose the chain as their favorite did so because of new items, like the egg white delight sandwich.

Rounding out the top six were Wendy’s, Panera Bread, and Starbucks, all popular favorites by ChainWise users.

Best in Category Winners

Hungry for a fantastic fast food burger? Looking for the perfect pizza? Here are the top vote getters for a few fast food menu favorites.

1. Best Burger. It was Wendy’s classic burger, known as Dave’s Hot ‘N’ Juicy, that had what it took to slide past Burger King’s Whopper and McDonald’s Big Mac in this survey. Wendy’s has long set itself apart from its competitors by vowing it will always use fresh, never frozen, meat. The ability to customize each order is another secret to its success.

2. French fries. Fresh, hot, golden. McDonald’s fries were chosen by survey takers as being a cut above the rest. The chain left others in the dust, with Arby’s curly fries coming in at a very distant second. Other restaurants have tweaked their recipes for years, trying to dethrone McDonald’s as king of the fries, but none have been able to replace the strong consumer preference for the fries from the golden arches.  

3. Pizza. Competition among pizza chains has seen dozens vying for the biggest piece of the pie, but it is Papa John’s steadfast resolve to stick with what it does best that appears to have won the hearts of consumers. Perhaps better ingredients truly do make better pizza because the chain was able to nudge past Pizza Hut and Domino’s in a tight field.

4. Fried Chicken. That finger-lickin’ recipe of secret herbs and spices is still serving Kentucky Fried Chicken well. In yet another strong category, the Colonel was able to retain the fried chicken crown, with Popeye’s and Chick-fil-A settling for a second place tie.

Written by Lori Weaver. You can find her on Google.