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Five Guys is Once Again America’s Favorite Quick-Service Restaurant

It turns out that Five Guys is having a real good year in 2011, as it once again surpassed competition in being hailed as the American consumers’ most loved quick service restaurant. This was reported by Market Source Information, a global leader in customer experience management solutions, as well as customer intelligence.

Five Guys secured the highest spot in the annual study conducted by Market Force, and such achievement is in step with the company’s rapid development in the past years. The result of the study, which was based on the aggregated votes the chain received per store, was attributed to its known excellent customer service and well-liked food.

Completing the list for the top three are In-N-Out Burger and Chick-fil-A, which placed second and third respectively. The study revealed that these three restaurants have one thing in common: friendly service by its apron-clad servers.

Over 4,500 fast food customers in North America took part in the survey, which asked consumers which fast food restaurants they like best and what characteristics of a fast food restaurant are most valuable to them. Market Force initially calculated the consumers’ favorites based on the pure number of votes, and, to get a more paralleled view of the results, they factored in the number of locations the restaurant chain has.

When the diners were given a list of the nation’s 55 top fast-food restaurants and were asked to pick their favorite, the restaurant which has the most number of votes, garnering a 10.4% score, turned out to be Chick-fil-A. Panera Bread was second, with a 9.9% score, and Five Guys came in at 9.1%. Following the list are McDonald’s, Subway, Chipotle, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Arby’s, Sonic, In-N-Out, Panda Express and Burger King.

Quality Over Quantity

These results, however, needed to be indexed, basing it on the number of locations each chain has across the country. Chick-fil-A has over 1,500 locations in the U.S., while Panera Bread’s U.S. locations are at 1,300. Five Guys has less than 650 units, and thus got a higher result. It earned a total of 7.2% and was seconded by In-N-Out burger, another regionally-based restaurant, which got 5.9%. Chick-fil-A went third with a 4.1% score and Panera Bread came fourth with 4.0%.

Consistency Is the Name of the Game

Market Force also asked respondents to specify why they prefer one fast –food restaurant over the other by allowing them to rate the chains by attributes – taste of food, cleanliness, friendly service, food quality, speed of service and overall value. Among all attributes, friendly service by restaurant servers in their superior aprons showed the most visible differentiation, giving an explanation why the top three were chosen.

The customers’ favorite Five Guys did not top in any of the listed attributes, but it scored consistently well in almost all of them.

The survey respondents are from 18 years old to more than 70, and indicated a broad range of income levels – 62% of which earn more than $50,000 a year. Most are women (76%), who are the main handlers of household purchases. Fifty percent of the respondents indicated that they have kids at home.

In a related report from CNN Money, Consumer Reports released a few months back a consumer survey which named In-N-Out Burger as the nation’s latest fast food favorite. Chipotle Mexican Grill was hailed as the top franchise who specializes on south of the border food, while the consumers’ favorite pizza chain was Papa Murphy’s Take N’ Pizza. The survey had 37,000 respondents, who indicated that consumers nowadays are more focused on value than other attributes.