Chick-fil-A rules restaurants for 8th straight year despite dip in overall fast food chain satisfaction, ACSI Data Show


ANN ARBOR, Michigan, June 28, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Customers continue to prefer full-service restaurants over fast food, and the gap is widening.

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(Graphic: Business Wire)

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®) Restaurant Study 2021-2022, customer satisfaction with full-service restaurants is stable with a score of 80 (on a scale of 0-100), while the fast food industry drops by 2 .6% to 76.

Restaurants have had to change tack in recent years, relying more on a digital and contactless approach to stay in business and keep customers happy. Some have had more success than others.

“The large group of small full-service restaurants is seeing a substantial deterioration in mobile app quality, contributing to a sharp decline in the overall industry, which fell 8% to 78,” said Forrest Morgeson, assistant professor of marketing at Michigan State University and director. Emeritus Research Fellow at ACSI. “In the midst of the pandemic, restaurants needed to quickly up their game in the mobile realm. With fewer resources, smaller chains and independent restaurants are offering apps that aren’t up to par with customers. On the other hand, positive changes in the quality of mobile applications and the reliability of several large chains seems to reflect the major updates of applications for these large players in the industry.

Small full-service restaurants stumble and fall in three-way tie with LongHorn Steakhouse and Texas Roadhouse

After securing the industry lead last year, the small restaurant group fell 1% to an ACSI score of 80, falling into a triple tie for first place with LongHorn Steakhouse (unchanged) and Texas Roadhouse (unchanged).

Cracker Barrel (unchanged) and Fridays (up 1%) follow with 78 each, followed by three full-service restaurants with scores of 77: Olive Garden (down 4%), Outback Steakhouse (down 1 %) and Red Robin (down 1%).

Chili’s and The Cheesecake Factory both slipped 1% to 76, ahead of Denny’s and Red Lobster, dropping 1% and 3%, respectively, to 75. Buffalo Wild Wings followed, dropping 3% to an ACSI score of 74.

Applebee’s and IHOP both take last place with scores of 73. The former drops 5%, while the latter slips back 1%.

Chick-fil-A maintains its stranglehold on the fast food industry

Chick-fil-A leads the industry — and all restaurants — for the eighth straight year with a steady ACSI score of 83.

The group of smaller fast food providers slipped 1% to 79, tying ACSI newcomer Jimmy John’s for second place. Domino’s (down 3%) and KFC (down 1%) follow suit at 78 each.

Four chains score 77: Chipotle (unchanged), Panera Bread (down 1%), Pizza Hut (down 1%) and Starbucks (down 3%). Three fast food restaurants fall to 76: Arby’s (down 1%), Five Guys (down 3%) and Papa Johns (down 1%).

Burger King, Little Caesars and Panda Express all dip 1% to meet a stable Subway at 75. Dairy Queen (unchanged), Dunkin’ (down 4%) and Sonic (up 1%) are next with scores of 74, just ahead of Wendy’s, which remains at 73.

Jack in the Box and Taco Bell fell 1% and 3% to 72, respectively, while Popeyes fell 3% to 71. McDonald’s remained in last place after falling 3% to an ACSI score of 68.

Customers still prefer sit-down meals over the fast food experience

In terms of customer experience, full-service restaurants are again the preferred choice.

Customers agree that sit-down restaurants outperform fast-food chains in accuracy of food orders (87 to 83), restaurant layout and cleanliness (84 to 81), quality of foods (86 to 81) and variety of foods (84 to 79) .

Also, the staff is more courteous and helpful (84 to 82) in full-service restaurants than in fast-food chains. Establishments with table service offer a greater variety of drinks (83 to 77) and a better quality of drinks (84 to 81).

Full-service restaurants also have more reliable mobile apps (85-82). However, the quality of fast food apps is significantly higher than full-service apps (83 to 78), as the latter are down 8% year over year.

The ACSI Restaurant Study 2021-2022 is based on interviews with 20,143 customers, randomly selected and contacted by email between April 2021 and March 2022. Follow ACSI on LinkedIn and Twitter at @theACSI.

No advertising or other promotional use may be made of the data and information contained in this release without the prior express written permission of ACSI LLC.

About ACSI

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®) has been a national economic indicator for 25 years. It measures and analyzes customer satisfaction with more than 400 companies in 47 industries and 10 economic sectors, including various federal and local government agency services. Reported on a scale of 0 to 100, the scores are based on interview data with approximately 500,000 customers per year. For more information, visit

ACSI and its logo are registered trademarks of American Customer Satisfaction Index LLC.

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Allie Carroll 267-294-7735
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