Consumer News

Fast Food In America: Why Americans Still Love Fast Food, But Are Likely To Choose Quality Over Convenience

burger and chips
Even Americans think McDonald's burgers are gross. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

America: land of the free and home of the fast food restaurants. In a nation where not all burgers are created equal, Consumer Reports decided to find out which chain restaurants got Americans' salivary glands working the hardest. The report is a combination of surprising, confusing, and just plain amusing results. Did your favorite restaurant make the list?

Consumer Reports asked its 32,405 subscribers what fast-food restaurant had, in their opinion, the tastiest food. A trend soon emerged where the biggest fast-food restaurants ranked the lowest in customer preference. For example, KFC was voted last for chicken, Taco Bell was the least liked for burritos and, sorry Jared, but Subway’s sandwiches were only beat by Au Bon Pain as least favorite among the American public.

As for McDonald's? Americans are seriously not "lovin' it." “McDonald’s own customers ranked its burgers significantly worse than those of 20 competitors, including Hardee’s, White Castle, and Carl’s Jr. No other house specialty scored as low," Consumer Reports noted, as reported by NBC 5 Chicago.

As for the favorite fast-food joints, The Habit Burger Grill, Chick-fil-A, and Chipotle Mexican Grill lead the way. These restaurants may have won the hearts because they let “the consumer guide the staff to prepare their meal just the way they like it,” Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, a food-service research and consulting firm, told NBC 5. Although Americans, especially the younger generation, still love fast food, the Consumer Report survey revealed that they are more likely to go out of their way to buy a better tasting meal.

If you’ve never heard of, never mind eaten at, any of the restaurants occupying the top spots, it may be because the chain isn’t located in your state. To rank as a "national" restaurant, one only needs to be present in six or more states, while classification for regional eateries required even less locations. Considering that the U.S. is comprised of 50 states, there's a pretty big chance you’re not familiar with all of the fellow countrymen’s favorite fast-food choices.

Although America may be dubbed the "Fast Food Nation," recent reports show that younger generations are more concerned with the quality of food than the convenience of the location. Despite how the world views the U.S., Americans actually want to eat good quality food. But we haven’t completely stepped away from the title, with eight of 10 Americans admitting to indulging in fast food at least once a month. 

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