Despite all Chick-fil-A's recent woes -- the chain faced a steep dip in public approval after it came out against gay marriage earlier this year -- it still came out on top of Market Force's recent analysis of America's chicken chains.
In a survey that tallied the responses of 7,600 consumers, Chick-fil-A was voted number one. It was followed by Raising Cane’s and Boston Market in second and third, and El Pollo Loco, Zaxby’s, Popeyes, KFC, Wingstop and Church’s Chicken brought up the rear in descending order.
Like previous Market Force studies, the chicken chain study looked at a total number of votes for each chain and the number of locations in each chain. Chick-fil-A has the most locations of any chain considered in the study -- 1,600 stores in 39 states -- and claimed the most favorite votes per location.
Chick-fil-A also fared well when considered on a regional basis; it was named the favorite chain in all regions except the South, where Raising Cane's took top honors. Boston Market performed respectably in each region, remaining in the top three across the country.
Market Force attributed Chick-fil-A's high performance to its high consumer-reported rankings of food quality and taste, customer service, cleanliness, atmosphere and overall value. Raising Cane's also performed well in these categories. KFC, in contrast, ranked ninth in the food quality/taste and value categories.
In a company press release, Market Force's chief marketing office Janet Eden-Harris explained Chick-fil-A's appeal:
“Whether it’s wings, fingers or sandwiches, chicken is more popular than ever with the masses ... With its quirky marketing campaign and consistent brand concept, Chick-fil-A has carved out a large stake in the expanding chicken segment, although regional competitors like Raising Cane’s and Zaxby’s are also seeing impressive growth.”
Click through the below gallery for more insight into America's favorite chains.
Despite Taco Bell's Cantina Bell menu, and the recent drop in Chipotle stock, Taco Bell was dead last in almost every survey category except for value. Chipotle came out on top for best taste quality.
Five Guys took top honors, beating out In-N-Out, Fuddruckers, A&W and Smashburger, in that order. McDonald's and Burger King appeared even lower on the list.
Ben & Jerry's was rated as favorite chain, besting Cold Stone Creamery, Culver’s, Baskin-Robbins, Dairy Queen, Carvel and Haagen-Dazs. Out of these seven chains, Haagen-Dazs had the lowest perceived value.
America's favorite fast-casual pizza chains is CiCi’s Pizza, according to Market Force's findings. Papa John's and Papa Murphy's came in second and third respectively, and Sbarro, Pizza Hut, Godfather’s, Domino’s and Little Caesars were also named as favorites.
Panera Bread won out over Jason’s Deli and McAlister’s Deli, Firehouse Subs, Quiznos, Jimmy John’s, Arby's and Subway. Although Subway had the most favorite jokes total, it took home the fewest per location.