For the ninth consecutive year, Chick-fil-A has topped a customer-satisfaction survey of U.S. fast-food restaurants. The Atlanta-based chain known for its chicken sandwiches and conservative values again received the most points—85 out of 100—on the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).
In the 2022-2023 ACSI survey, 16,250 randomly selected Americans rated fast-food chains on benchmarks ranging from food-order accuracy and checkout speed to menu variety and staff courtesy and helpfulness.
Chick-fil-A ‘Continues To Set the Standard’
Customer satisfaction with Chick-fil-A rose slightly, up from 83 points last year. According to the ACSI, “The popular chain continues to set the standard with its exceptional combination of food, service, and technological quality.”
Competitors are catching up to Chick-fil-A, however, with Jimmy John’s rising five points this year to 84. In the full-service restaurant category, the top-ranking restaurant, Outback Steakhouse, had 83 points, making Chick-fil-A the top contender among both types of establishments. Coming in last in the fast-food category was McDonald’s, with just 69 points.
Chick-fil-A’s popularity continues despite its Sunday closures and various controversies about its Christian roots. The latest dustup involving the chain concerned its vice president of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), as well as its DEI policy. LGBTQ advocates and competitors have taken shots at Chick-fil-A for its stance on social issues.
On its website, the family-owned chain says its corporate purpose is to “glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”
Restaurants Rebound From Pandemic, Now Face Inflation
Forrest Morgeson, a marketing professor who serves as ACSI’s director of research emeritus, shared insights about the current state of the American restaurant industry. “This year we’re seeing customer satisfaction returning to pre-pandemic levels for full-service dining, while fast-food outlets have rebounded to within a point of their 2019 score,” he said. “This good news is tempered, though, by increasing inflationary pressures, which are already slowing traffic. Sooner rather than later, the industry is going to feel the pinch, and price competition and value will matter.”
According to the ASCI, “Restaurant prices are up 8.8% over the last year, making it the first time since mid-2021 that eating out costs consumers more than eating in. And yet, perceived value is improved.”