In-N-Out and Chick-fil-A are the quick service restaurants (QSR) with the highest recommendations from their own customers, while Panera Bread and Texas Roadhouse lead the entire dining category by the same measurements.
Chick-fil-A holds a special distinction of not only having the second highest recommendation scores among QSRs, but the fifth highest among all dining chains.
Three of the five QSRs with the highest brand advocacy from its customers are considered “regional” brands: In-N-Out is primarily in California, Whatburger primarily throughout the south and Rubio’s Coastal Grill in the southwest and Florida. Third place Subway has, by far, the most locations at more than 26,000 in the U.S. Chick-fil-A, at more than 2,000 stores, continues to expand its footprint beyond its southeastern US origins.
What is striking are the names that are missing from one of our charts: a series of steakhouse chains which were too small in size or too regional to list on the All Dining ranking, but still pulled in unusually high recommend scores from its customers. Considering the 140 dining brands evaluated for this ranking, that’s an impressive feat for this group of restaurants.
Smith & Wollensky may only have nine locations, and The Palm has 23, but their customer recommendation scores are among the highest of all dining brands. The other well-regarded steakhouses that were too small and/or regional to include in the “all dining” list include Saltgrass Steakhouse, Ruth’s Chris, Morton’s, and McCormick & Schmick.
More than 140 major dining brands were measured with the company’s Recommend score, which asks respondents, "Would you recommend the brand to a friend?" Scores were filtered for adults 18 and over who are customers of the brand they were recommending.
A Recommend score can range from -100 to 100 with a zero score equaling a neutral position.