New Report: #1 Restaurant for Customer Satisfaction

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A restaurant that continually impresses its customers — nationwide — is hard to find, but that seems to be the situation among fast-food customers in America.

For the seventh year in a row, Chick-fil-A ranks at the top when it comes to customer satisfaction according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).

What Is the #1 Restaurant In America According to Customers?

The latest ACSI Restaurant Study ranks full-service and limited-service (fast food) eateries on a 100-point scale.

As for full-service restaurants, Longhorn Steakhouse and Olive Garden, tie for the top spot, according to customers. Both those chains are owned by Darden Restaurants, Inc.

The restaurants were judged on several benchmarks such as accuracy of order, food quality, variety of menu, mobile app and more.

Here are some key findings in the report:

  • Among fast-food eateries, Chick-fil-A’s hold on the top is secure but it dropped a point from last year. Meanwhile, Domino’s, Starbucks and Pizza Hut all experienced 1% gains.
  • Five Guys makes its debut with a score of 78, which is enough to beat other burger restaurants like Burger King which stayed pat with a score of 78 and McDonald’s, which is in the basement with a 70.
  • Among full-service restaurants, three of the top five places are steakhouses (Longhorn, Outback and Texas Roadhouse). At the end of the line is IHOP, with a score of 74.

We’re going to take a look at the best limited-service restaurants first, then the full-service businesses.

Best Limited-Service Restaurants in America

Company2023 Score% Gain/Loss Compared To Last Year
Jimmy John's (Inspire Brands)846
KFC (Yum! Brands)814
Papa Johns805
Five Guys783
Pizza Hut (Yum! Brands)781
Arby’s (Inspire Brands)771
Dunkin' (Inspire Brands)774
Panda Express773
Burger King (RBI)761
Panera Bread76-1
Chipotle Mexican Grill75-3
Dairy Queen751
Little Caesars74-1
Popeyes (RBI)744
Jack in the Box731
Sonic (Inspire Brands)72-3
Taco Bell (Yum! Brands)71-1
Average of All Fast-Food Restaurants in Survey783

When comparing sit-down chains to fast-food outlets, customers prefer the cleanliness, food variety and staff courtesy of full-service restaurants, according to the report.

Now let’s take a look at the top full-service eateries that customers love.

Best Full-Service Restaurants in America

Company2023 Score% Gain/Loss Compared To Last Year
Outback Steakhouse838
Cracker Barrel825
LongHorn Steakhouse (Darden)823
Texas Roadhouse823
Olive Garden (Darden)804
Applebee's (Dine Brands)798
Buffalo Wild Wings (Inspire Brands)797
Red Lobster795
The Cheesecake Factory783
Red Robin770
IHOP (Dine Brands)72-1
Average of All Full-Service Restaurants in Survey811

The ACSI Restaurant Study is based on interviews conducted between April 1, 2020, and March 29, 2021, with 19,423 customers.


To retain business, eateries are going to have to continue giving customers what they’ve come to expect, David VanAmburg, managing director at the ACSI, says in a news release.

“During the pandemic, folks got a taste for what it’s like to have food from their favorite restaurants delivered right to their door,” VanAmburg is quoted as saying. “And now that they’ve gotten used to this service, there’s no going back. Restaurants need to continue to give customers all the options they’ve become accustomed to over the last year and a half. If not, they might grab a bite somewhere else.”

Got a birthday coming up? Read how you can get a free or discounted meal.

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