What constitutes good service in a restaurant? The specifics obviously vary according to the kind of establishment. In a pricey, white-tablecloth place, a diner might reasonably expect a knowledgeable, attentive, friendly (but not overly familiar) server who watches over and, well, serves the table from arrival to departure. In a casual neighborhood café, on the other hand, just getting the right food set down within a reasonable timeframe might be enough – with a smile as lagniappe.
At a fast-food restaurant with a drive-up window, of course, the expectations are even simpler. As long as the order is taken accurately and the food is delivered without any obvious attitude, the customer will probably be happy. (These are the most successful restaurant chains in America.)
Theoretically, large chain operations, whether grab-and-go or sit-down places, should have particularly good service since they usually have clearly established service standards and staff training programs. But some chains do better than others when it comes to keeping their customers happy.
To determine the 12 restaurant chains with the best service, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a report on the subject from the 2022 edition of the Consumer Picks study published by Nation’s Restaurant News in conjunction with Datassential, which produces the Brand Fingerprints data platform the study is based on. According to the NRN report, more than 60% of the customers of a dozen chains rated the service quality at those chains to be “best in class” or “above average.” The number of U.S. locations as of 2020 is from Restaurant Business Magazine.
Click here to see the 12 restaurant chains with the best service
While it has been controversial and is often boycotted for its financial support of groups opposing same-sex marriage, Chick-fil-A has many fans, and customer service is quite probably one of the reasons, since it placed No. 1 on this list. (It was also the highest-rated chain in the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index Restaurant Study, which also revealed the fast food restaurant with the worst customer service.)
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