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2012 Best U.S. Retail Restaurant Fast Food Chains and Full Service Restaurants

Restaurant Customers Rank Best Burgers, Pizza, Coffee, Cuisine in Zagat Survey

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Updated October 17, 2012
What are the best fast food restaurants in the U.S. retail industry? Each year the Zagat organization, publishers of Zagat Survey data for restaurants and hotels, conduct a customer survey of the top, best, biggest, and most popular U.S. retail restaurant chains and franchises. In 2012 there were 46 U.S. fast food and 26 full-service restaurant chains and franchises that were named by dining customers as having the Best Burgers, Best Coffee, Best Food, Best Value, Best Pizza, Best Cuisine, and many other bests in many more categories.

The 2012 annual Fast Food survey that was conducted by the Zagats research organization was open to any U.S. resident, and asks restaurant customers to rate fast food, quick service and full service restaurants for their menu items, value, facilities, customer service, and overall popularity. The 2012 Zagat Fast Food survey was completed by approximately 10,500 U.S. dining customers across the U.S., compared to approximately 6,000 diners who completed the Zagats survey in 2011.

What makes the Zagat survey particularly unique and trustworthy is the survey methodology, which is a truly random sampling, not a chosen or targeted study group. While the taste of food is always a matter of individual taste, opinions about what constitutes good and bad restaurant service and high food quality are universal, and therefore, the Zagat survey results are generally considered to be a dependable assessment overall.

Of course, in the case of every restaurant chain and franchise, the individual delivery and execution could vary greatly between locations and are completely dependent on the restaurant management and employee team. The top five restaurant chains and franchises generally manage to achieve their high rankings because of the high standards established and enforced by the company’s headquarters and its management team.

So while it is always possible to have bad customer experiences at any restaurant location, it is less likely that this will occur in the restaurant chains and franchises Zagat’s "best” rankings. What the Zagat rankings really identify are the U.S. restaurant chains and franchises which have the best consistency and dependability, according to restaurant customers.

What follows are the results of the 2012 Zagat Fast Food survey, arranged alphabetically according to the names of the restaurant chains. The restaurants listed in this article have received a top five ranking in one or more of the following categories that Zagat measures:
  • Best Breakfast Sandwiches
  • Best Burger
  • Best Coffee
  • Best Cuisine
  • Best Fish
  • Best French Fries
  • Best Fried Chicken
  • Best Grilled Chicken
  • Best Milkshake
  • Best Salads
  • Best Value
  • Best Value Menu
  • Best Wings
  • Most Child-Friendly
  • Most Popular
  • Top Facilities
  • Top Food
  • Top Ice Cream/Custard
  • Top Service

Click here for 2012 Best Fast Food Restaurant Rankings >>

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