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

Company2021% Change From Last Year
Chick-fil-A83-1%
Domino’s801%
KFC (Yum! Brands)790%
Starbucks791%
Five Guys78NA
Panera Bread78-1%
Pizza Hut (Yum! Brands)781%
Arby’s (Inspire Brands)77-3%
Chipotle Mexican Grill77-4%
Average of
Limited-Service Restaurants
780.0%

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

Company2021% Change From Last Year
LongHorn Steakhouse (Darden)80-1%
Olive Garden (Darden)
801%
Texas Roadhouse800%
Cracker Barrel78-1%
Outback Steakhouse780%
Red Robin783%
Applebee’s (Dine Brands)770%
Chili’s773%
Red Lobster77-3%
Average of
Full-Service Restaurants
801.3%

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

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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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