Five Guys is continuing to gain ground and fans across the country, according to a new survey from Market Force Information. In an industry survey of more than 7,600 U.S. consumers, Market Force found that Five Guys was the favorite burger chain.
The results proved consistent with the brand's rapid growth, as well as the popularity of its food and atmosphere. West Coast favorite In-N-Out Burger, which is also known for having passionate patrons and strong word-of-mouth, ranked second among consumers. Rounding out the top five were Fuddruckers, A&W and relative-newcomer Smashburger. (See Graph 1.)
This set of research is the first in a series of findings from a study that evaluated consumer preferences across six QSR restaurant categories. Market Force first calculated the favorites based on pure number of votes, and then factored in the number of locations for each chain for a more level view of the results. The results were also analyzed geographically to see which chains are most popular in various regions of the country, including Northeast, Midwest, South and West.
Slicing and dicing the results by U.S. region
When Market Force looked at the results to determine how the burger brands fared in four different regions of the country, Five Guys still dominated, ranking first place in all of the regions. From there, the regional leaders diverged, although Fuddruckers, a relatively small chain, placed in the top four across all regions.
How burger joints differentiated by attribute
What factors do diners like most about their favorite burger joint? The study shows that many seem to vote with their palates rather than their wallets. As a case in point, the three top-ranking burger chains — Five Guys, Smashburger and In-N-Out — all rated toward the top in key categories such as food quality/taste, friendly service and cleanliness. In fact, Five Guys received the highest marks across all of the major attributes except value, a category that was captured by In-N-Out and Whataburger.
Conversely, of the restaurants that were studied, McDonald's ranked last for food quality/taste, and A&W ranked last in the remaining categories, including friendly service, value, cleanliness and atmosphere.
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