The modern consumer has never been more quality conscious. Food brands and restaurants may have gotten away with sketchy ingredients and mystery meats in decades past, but people want to feel good about what they’re eating nowadays.
That’s why food quality ranks among the most important factors for restaurant patrons, according to this year’s Consumer Picks report from Nation’s Restaurant News. Besides other culinary essentials like stellar service, crystal clear cleanliness, and reasonable prices, today’s consumers want their restaurant meals to live up to a certain standard—even if it was ordered at a drive-thru.
“It’s pretty much the restaurant’s responsibility to make sure to live up to customers’ expectations,” said Claire Conaghan, director of content at Chicago-based Datassential, which produces the Brand Fingerprints data platform that makes the Consumer Picks report possible.
Wondering how your favorite restaurant chain stacks up in terms of food quality? You’re in luck, the Consumer Picks report also compiled a list of the highest-quality restaurant chains this year. These rankings correlate to the number of consumers rating the brands as either “best in class” or “above average” when it comes to “craveability”.
The top-10 list this year is an eclectic group, and some are far from fancy. Keep reading to learn more!
Coming in at number 10 we have the fast-casual bakery cafe chain La Madeleine. Headquartered in Texas with over 80 locations spread across the Southern US, La Madeleine is all about celebrating French cuisine. Some of the most popular dishes at the chain include French Onion Soup, Quiche Lorraine, and Tomato Basil Soup.
According to the Consumer Picks report, 67% of consumers rated La Madeleine “above average” or “best in class” on food quality.
Also sporting a 67% consumer rating of “above average” or “best in class” on food quality, Culver’s is a fast food-casual chain boasting an impressive 878 locations spread across 26 US states.
Probably best known for their “butter burgers,” Culver’s offers a diverse array of menu items including Wisconsin cheese curds, buffalo chicken tenders, and chili. Culver’s is the only chain on this list that was not on the 2021 list.
The quintessential soup and sandwich chain, Panera Bread was rated as “above average” or “best in class” on food quality by 68% of consumers.
Headquartered in Missouri, Panera Bread locations are almost everywhere; over 2,000 across the USA and Canada. Some of Panera Bread’s most popular menu items include Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Mac & Cheese, and the Bacon Turkey Bravo Sandwich.
An integral part of West Coast culture, In-N-Out Burger has long enjoyed a reputation as a higher-quality burger chain. 68% of consumers rated In-N-Out Burger “above average” or “best in class” on food quality in this year’s report.
Predominantly found in California, In-N-Out Burger locations also operate in Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Utah, and Oregon. Their menu is infamously simple and small, but if you want to get wild on your next visit: Try ordering your meal “animal style.”
Owned and operated by the same company as Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill is a casual dining seafood restaurant chain featuring over 180 locations across 28 states.
Another 68% of consumers rated Bonefish Grill “above average” or “best in class” on food quality, no doubt thanks to innovative and tasty dishes like their Bang Bang Shrimp, Seafood Johnny Cakes, and Ahi Tuna Sashimi.
Narrowly beating out its sister chain, Outback Steakhouse was named the number five most high-quality restaurant on this year’s report. A total of 69% of consumers rated the Aussie-style restaurant as “above average” or “best in class” in terms of food quality.
The biggest chain on this list so far, Outback is an absolute casual dining juggernaut featuring over 1,000 locations across 23 countries. While many Australians beg to differ, Outback’s menu is supposedly all about Australian cuisine like The Bloomin Onion and Shrimp on the Barbie.
The Cheesecake Factory
Don’t judge a restaurant chain by name alone. The Cheesecake Factory offers a whole lot more than dessert. Quite frankly, you’d be hard-pressed to name a food variety you can’t find at your local Cheesecake Factory. From tacos and burgers to pastas and club sandwiches, the menu truly has something for everyone. Looking to get adventurous? Consider trying the Avocado Egg Rolls.
The Cheesecake Factory operates over 200 locations all over the United States, and boasts an impressive 72% consumer rating for “above average” or “best in class” food quality.
An additional 72% of consumers rated Longhorn Steakhouse “above average” or “best in class” on food quality. The seminal steakhouse offers a diverse menu featuring mouth-watering meals like Parmesan Crusted Chicken, 7-Pepper Sirloin Salad, and The Longhorn Porterhouse.
Founded way back in 1981, today Longhorn operates 574 locations all over the US, but Florida holds the most, with 75 locations.
Specializing in preparing steaks in a Texan and Southwestern style, Texas Roadhouse was also named “above average” or “best in class” for food quality by 74% of consumers. Headquartered, ironically, in Kentucky, the steak chain operates over 620 US locations.
Some of Texas Roadhouse’s most popular dishes include the Cactus Blossom, Choice Sirloin, and Rattlesnake Bites.
They didn’t invent the chicken, just a high-quality chicken restaurant. Chick-fil-A lands the coveted number one spot on this list—the same spot it occupied last year—fueled by 75% of consumers rating the fast food chain as “above average” or “best in class” on food quality.
Sporting over 2,800 locations in 49 US states, Chick-fil-A is known for deliciously simple menu items like its Chicken Sandwich and Spicy Chicken Sandwich. The chain’s many dipping sauces are also beloved by patrons.
This content was originally published here.