Restaurants 2015: ACSI Highs and Lows

Highlights of customer satisfaction trends in fast food and full-service dining.

restaurant-stats-2-585x1024

ACSI Restaurant Report 2015 »

Limited-Service Restaurant Scores »

Full-Service Restaurant Scores »

Business Insider: The Top 10 Most-Loved Fast Food Chains in America »

CBS MoneyWatch: 5 Most Loved and Hated Fast-Food Restaurants »

International Business Times: Best Restaurants in USA: Chick-Fil-A Trumps Competition, McDonald’s Falls Out of Favor »

CNBC: Things Just Got a Lot Worse Over at McDonald’s »

Consumerist: Chick-Fil-A, Chipotle Lead in Customer Satisfaction Survey, McDonald’s Brings Up the Rear… Again »

Laser Focus Puts Chick-fil-A on Top

Chick-fil-A customers are loving their experience—so much so that the company vaults to the top of the fast food restaurant category in its first appearance in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. What about the love coming McDonald’s way? Well…not so much. In fact, the world’s largest fast food chain can’t get out of the industry’s basement. In 2015, McDonald’s takes another hit for customer satisfaction—down 6% to an industry low of 67 on ACSI’s 100-point scale.

With a laser focus on poultry, Chick-fil-A debuts at the sky-high level of 86, handily beating rival KFC (-1% to 73) and setting an all-time ACSI high among fast food outlets. Additionally, across nine key elements of the restaurant customer experience, Chick-fil-A is the industry benchmark leader for the fast food category, with only Papa John’s providing a challenge in one area—website satisfaction.

blog-restaurants-cex

Across the board, pizza makers see big drops in customer satisfaction this year—ranging from an 8% decline for Little Caesars to 5% and 6% drops for Papa John’s, Domino’s, and Pizza Hut. Other established names including Burger King, Wendy’s, Arby’s, and Taco Bell populate the low end of the ACSI ratings, perhaps receiving a collective yawn from consumers looking for healthier menu items, better service, and amped-up décor. Seemingly fitting the bill better are Panera Bread and Chipotle Mexican Grill, debuting in second and third place with ACSI scores of 80 and 83, respectively.

In the full-service category, steak houses do well by their customers as Texas Roadhouse grabs first place at 83, followed by LongHorn Steakhouse at 81. Outback Steakhouse, however, ends up below the industry average after retreating 3% to 78.

Across the customer experience, LongHorn leads in six of nine food and service areas, including food and drink quality, layout and cleanliness, and staff courtesy. Texas Roadhouse offers the best website while matching Longhorn for beverage quality and service speed. Cracker Barrel—placing third among sit-down venues with an ACSI score of 80—is well-liked by its customers for food-to-table speed as well as food menu variety.

Download ACSI Restaurant Report 2015 »

MarketWatch: What Is America’s Most Hated Fast-Food Chain? »

USA TODAY: What’s America’s Favorite Fast-Food Restaurant? »

Chicago Tribune: Chick-fil-A tops other fast-food chains in satisfaction survey »

CNN Money: America’s Favorite Fast Food Chain is… »