The votes are in! In its first survey comparing the quality of the nation's fast food chains, Consumer Reports has crowned In-N-Out Burger America's favorite chain, thanks to "high scores for quality of food and service, as well as value and speed." Scoring at the bottom of the list were mega chains Arby's, Quiznos, Dominos, Pizza Hut and, at rock bottom, McDonald's. The survey polled over 36,000 readers on 53 eateries in the country. Scoring behind In-N-Out, which has locations in five Western states, in the burger joint category were Five Guys and Burgerville. Topping the Mexican food category was Chipotle, which according to the Consumerist, shows "it's not impossible for a chain restaurant to have a large number of outlets and still deliver a decent product." Meanwhile, Taco Bell ranked near the bottom with Del Taco finishing last. Among the chicken chains, "Chick-fil-A topped KFC and all other chicken chains, with high scores for food, value, speed, and the politeness of its staff," notes the report. Overall lesson? Americans don't care about healthful options.
While many fast food restaurants offer healthful menu options, most consumers are taking a pass; only 13 percent of those surveyed by Consumer Reports said they had eaten a healthful meal during their most recent visit to a fast food chain. "Indulgence wins over healthfulness every time,” says Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, a food-service research and consulting firm in Chicago.