Zagat has released the results of their 2010 Fast Food survey, based on responses from 6,518 Zagat.com diners who ate at chain outlets an average of 10.7 times per month, totaling 837,000 meals.
The survey focused on four categories of chains: Large (up to 5,000 U.S. outlets), Mega (over 5,000), Full-Service (with table service), and Quick-Refreshment (focused on beverages, ice cream, etc.).
The most notable survey result would have to be the rankings for best fast-food burger, with Virginia-based Five Guys edging out west coast-favorite and previous years' winner In-N-Out Burger. Paula Forbes at Eater notes that Five Guys victory in this category may be due to each chain's respective reach:
It could just be lack of exposure. According to The OC Register, as of August 7th, Five Guys had 644 locations across the US and Canada -- including locations in California. In-N-Out, meanwhile, has a mere 244 locations in four states (with a fifth on the way). Perhaps this is just a numbers game; we probably speak for everyone when we say the answer is expansion.
So, not to worry, In-N-Out fans, these results were not weighted by the chains' number of locations, as another recent chain restaurant survey was.
We've extracted some of the more interesting findings from the Zagat survey in the slideshow below, and the full results are available here.