Chick-fil-A named ‘undisputed' fast food leader, survey says

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Facts about Chick-fil-A.

American Consumer Satisfaction Index’s 2019-2020 report puts the Atlanta spot on top for limited-service chains

Despite a previous designation of having some of the slowest drive-thrus, Chick-fil-A has come out on top among fast food chains amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Consumer Satisfaction Index Restaurant Report 2019-2020 reveals that the Atlanta-based eatery is No. 1 among other quick-service restaurants, referred to as limited-service restaurants in the report.

ExploreHere’s where Chick-fil-A ranks in customer satisfaction, according to new survey

The ACSI Restaurant Report 2019-2020 on full-service and limited-service eateries is based on interviews with 23,312 customers. The customers were picked randomly and contacted via email between April 15, 2019, and March 19, 2020.

ACSI asked customers to assess their recent experiences with the largest sit-down and fast food restaurants in terms of market share. They were also asked about an aggregate category with smaller restaurants in those industries.

Data from the survey are used as inputs to ACSI’s cause-and-effect econometric model. The tool gauges customer satisfaction stemming from customer expectations, perceptions of quality and perceptions of value provided by respondents. Then, the ACSI model ties customer satisfaction to the survey-measured results of customer complaints and customer loyalty.

Results from the survey showed full-service restaurants dropping in approval among U.S. consumers the most. They fell 2.5% to an ACSI score of 79. There was also a drop mong limited-service eateries, although it was to a lesser extent; it fell 1.3% to 78.

Yet Chick-fil-A managed to win major approval among fast food joints.

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“The undisputed industry leader is Chick-fil-A despite a 2% decline to an ACSI score of 84,” read the report. "This is the sixth straight year that Chick-fil-A has been number one across both restaurant categories.

“Although its ACSI score is lower compared with prior years, Chick-fil-A continues to be a pacesetter across much of the customer experience,” it added. “The chicken specialist has grown to become one of the top U.S. fast food chains by system-wide sales. Per location in 2019, Chick-fil-A sales were over 50% higher than McDonald’s per-unit sales.”

The chicken eatery wasn’t the only Georgia-based company that made it on the list. Arby’s and Sonic Drive-In, both owned by Sandy Springs-based Inspire Brands, each landed on the list and had an ACSI score of 79 and 74 respectively. Dunkin', which will be acquired by Inspire, scored 79 on the index, too.