Special Report

Restaurant Chains With the Happiest Customers

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Firehouse Subs
> Category: Fast-casual restaurant chains
> Score: 8.75/10

This chain, founded in 1994 by a couple of firefighters, now boasts more than 1,100 locations nationwide. Firehouse Subs received the highest customer service score among brands in the fast-casual segment, which QSR Magazine describes as and “insanely competitive” category. Company CEO Don Fox told QSR last year that the chain was reinforcing its already strong position with a new national ad campaign focused on digital and video, updated to-go systems, and a new delivery initiative.

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Five Guys
> Category: Fast-casual restaurant chains
> Score: 8.61/10

Last year’s Market Force consumer study of customer favorites in five QSR categories awarded Five Guys third place overall among burger chains. In three individual rankings for speed of service, overall cleanliness, and food quality, it place second — losing out in all three cases to In-N-Out).

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Panera Bread
> Category: Fast-casual restaurant chains
> Score: 8.37/10

Panera’s most recent customer survey got almost 500,000 responses. Customer complaints about long lines led to the introduction of the chain’s Rapid Pick-Up service, which allows diners to order online, choose a pick-up time, and (as the Panera website puts it) “just grab your meal and go.” The 2018 Market Force consumer study also gave Panera top marks for loyalty card awareness, finding that 78% of respondents knew that the chain had such a program.

Source: RiverNorthPhotography / Getty Images

> Category: Fast-food restaurant chains
> Score: 9.11/10

The American Consumer Satisfaction Index for 2018 gave this popular chicken chain a score of 87 out of 100 — No. 1 in limited-service restaurant category. “Everyone wants to be the next Chick-fil-A,” according to QSR Magazine.

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> Category: Fast-food restaurant chains
> Score: 8.21/10

In late 2017, Arby’s instituted an new training program aimed at inspiring employees, and thus improving the guest experience. Part of the program included learning the B.L.A.S.T. model, aimed at earning back customer loyalty after unsatisfactory experiences. The acronym stands for Believe, Listen, Apologize, Solve, Thank.