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07/01/2022

Chick-fil-A dominates restaurant satisfaction rankings

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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Chick-fil-A logo
Customers continue to prefer full-service over fast food restaurants, according to the ACSI Restaurant Study.

One chain continues to dominate customer satisfaction in the restaurant industry.

Chick-fil-A leads the industry – and all restaurants – in customer satisfaction for the eighth consecutive year, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index Restaurant Study 2021-2022, with a steady ACSI score of 83 (on a score of 0 to 100. On an overall basis, customer satisfaction with full-service restaurants is stable with a score of 80, while the fast-food industry dropped 2.6% to 76.

In fast-food, four chains scored 77: Chipotle (unchanged), Panera Bread (down 1%), Pizza Hut (down 1%), and Starbucks (down 3%). Three fast-food restaurants fall to 76: Arby’s (down 1%), Five Guys (down 3%), and Papa Johns (down 1%).

Burger King, Little Caesars, and Panda Express all dip 1% to meet a stable Subway at 75. Dairy Queen (unchanged), Dunkin’ (down 4%), and Sonic (up 1%) are next with scores of 74, just ahead of Wendy’s, which stays put at 73.

Jack in the Box and Taco Bell drop 1% and 3%, respectively, to 72, while Popeyes decreases 3% to 71. McDonald’s remains in last place after faltering 3% to an ACSI score of 68.

Customers favor sit-down dining over a fast-food experience
In terms of the customer experience, full-service restaurants are the preferred choice again.

Customers said that sit-down spots outperform fast-food chains when it comes to food order accuracy (87 to 83), restaurant layout and cleanliness (84 to 81), food quality (86 to 81), and food variety (84 to 79).

Additionally, staff are more courteous and helpful (84 to 82) at full-service restaurants than at fast-food chains. Sit-down establishments offer a wider variety of beverages (83 to 77) and greater beverage quality (84 to 81).

Full-service restaurants also have more reliable mobile apps (85 to 82). However, the quality of fast-food apps is vastly superior to full-service apps (83 to 78), as the latter tumbles 8% year over year.