New report: These are America’s favorite chain restaurants

Chick-fil-a storefront
Image Credit: Dreamstime

If you’re picky about where you eat, you might appreciate a newly released report that sheds light on which restaurants make their customers the happiest.

Findings from the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index’s (ACSI) Restaurant Report show that patrons think highly of full-service restaurants — and their love for fast-food chains is starting to slip.

“The restaurant industry faces challenges in everything from staffing shortages to competition from other vendors, like prepared foods from grocers and convenience stores,” David VanAmburg, managing director at the ACSI, says in a written statement.

Report: Texas Roadhouse tops full-service restaurant satisfaction

The restaurants in both the full service and fast food categories were measured against a number of parameters including food order accuracy, staff courteousness and — for the first time — mobile apps.

Leading full-service restaurants for the second straight year is Texas Roadhouse, which edged a resurgent Cracker Barrel. Here are the top five finishers:

Full-service restaurant 2018 2019 Change
Texas Roadhouse 83 83 0%
Cracker Barrel 81 82 +1%
LongHorn Steakhouse 81 81 0%
Olive Garden 78 79 -1%
Outback 79 79 0%

Chili’s, Red Lobster, Ruby Tuesday, and TGI Fridays all scored 78s, according to the findings. Denny’s rounded out the top 10 with a 77, its highest-ever ACSI rating.

America’s favorite fast-food restaurant is…

When it comes to customer satisfaction in the fast-food industry, Chick-fil-A is in first place.

Although the Atlanta-based chain’s score dipped 1% this year, it still has a huge lead over its next closest competitor, Panera Bread. Check out the top six (four restaurants actually tied for third place)…

Fast-food restaurant 2018 2019 Change
Chick-fil-A 87 86 -1%
Panera Bread 81 81 0%
Arby’s 79 80 +1%
Chipotle Mexican Grill 79 80 +1%
Papa John’s 80 80 0%

Fast-food giant McDonald’s scored a disappointing 69 for the fourth consecutive year.

Overall, though, the restaurant sector should feel pretty good about itself, said VanAmburg:


“These are mature industries that have been doing what they’re doing for a long time and they’ve been successful. To have these scores from a service industry is proof that the two restaurant categories are good at what they do.”

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