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Tasty chicken and strong customer service: the perfect match

Chick-fil-A rules the roost once more, leading our list of America’s Most Loved Eating Out brands. The chicken sandwich specialist has remained #1 since our inaugural Top 100 in 2019.

Kelsie Schroeder Senior Research Analyst 05/12/2022

What’s the secret ingredient? We’ll never know – the recipe is locked in a safe at the brand’s HQ in Atlanta, Georgia. However, Chick-fil-A fans would argue that apart from taste, the secret to its success is outstanding customer service.

Competition is increasing – McDonald’s is aiming to take a big bite out of rivals’ market share.

Chick-fil-A has been ranked America’s favorite restaurant 8 years in a row by the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

The brand also displays a strong sense of community spirit by investing in education. Initiatives include its Community Scholars program, which awards $300,000 a year to students based on criteria such as community service and financial need. Not only that, but Chick-fil-A has also invested in college scholarships for many of its staff.

One of the biggest shakeups in our Top 20 this year involves a rise and fall for two chicken brands. KFC has climbed to 18th, up 4 places since 2021 – while Popeyes has fallen 2 places to 19th. It looks like a reward for the Colonel and co’s concerted efforts to refresh the brand’s marketing strategy, in a bid to broaden customer appeal. KFC described its recent partnership with young rapper Jack Harlow as the start of a “new era” appealing to a “new generation of fried chicken lovers.”

Back in the Top 10, Chick-fil-A isn’t the only chicken brand there this year, with Raising Cane’s remaining 10th. A relative newcomer, founded in 1996, the chicken finger aficionado is growing – as is America’s love of poultry in general. Per-capita chicken consumption is rising rapidly, while beef demand declines. Chicken is also cheaper than beef, which could be crucial with the cost of living increasing.

Competition is also increasing – McDonald’s is aiming to take a big bite out of rivals’ market share. Following on from launching several new chicken sandwich products last year, now it’s planning a trial of the Chicken Big Mac, which sold out after just 10 days in the UK.

But for any brand seeking to succeed in the chicken category, look no further than the standard set by the Most Loved Eating Out market leader. For Chick-fil-A, taste quality and customer service are a winning combination.

Download the report here to find out the America’s Top 100 Most Loved Eating Out Brands, as well as insights on the future of the sector and how brands can stay relevant in the coming years.

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