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The Wendy's Company Message Board

  • seanencinitas seanencinitas Oct 19, 2007 3:50 AM Flag

    Survey says Wendy's best food chain

    Wendy's boasts the best beef, but McDonald's rules the world of French fries, according to a national survey by Zagat that also had some kind words for Panera Bread Co., Outback Steakhouse and Cracker Barrel.

    New York City-based Zagat Survey gathered input from 5,535 surveyors nationwide for its Zagat/Today Show Fast Food Survey, which reported "Best of" designations in three categories: Fast-food "mega-chains" (more than 5,000 outlets), overall fast-food chains (big and small together), and full-service restaurant chains (separate from fast-food chains).

    Wendy's, the Dublin, Ohio-based "old-fashioned hamburgers" chain that once used a "Where's the beef?" ad campaign to boost popularity, swept three of the top four awards for mega-chains, scoring higher than competitors such as Subway, Dairy Queen, Pizza Hut and McDonald's in the categories of Most Popular, Top Food and Top Facilities.

    But when lumped together with all fast-food chains, including those with fewer than 5,000 outlets, Wendy's trailed Panera Bread Co., which scored highest in Most Popular, Top Food and Top Facilities.

    Chick-fil-A won the "service" category for all chains, and tied for second in food and facilities with Chipotle. Chipotle also tied for second for best service.

    Among chain restaurants that are considered "full service," Outback Steakhouse won "most popular" and "best food," while Cracker Barrel was ranked at the top for facilities and service. In overall scores, Outback and Cracker Barrel tied for first with Red Robin.

    Wendy's collected 30 percent of the "best burger" votes to beat Burger King (22 percent) and McDonald's (13 percent). But in the face-off for best French fry, McDonald's overwhelmed the competition with 63 percent of the vote, compared to just 10 percent for Burger King and Wendy's, the Zagat folks said.

    How important is that burger/fries dominance? Well, when surveyors were asked to list their favorite fast food, burgers and fries ranked first with 39 percent followed by subs/sandwiches (19 percent), Mexican (15 percent) and pizza (13 percent).

    The survey shed some light on some interesting, perhaps contradictory, customer attitudes. It showed, for example, that 93 percent of surveyors report they are somewhat or very concerned with the fat and calorie content of fast food. But despite those nutritional concerns, 79 percent of surveyors say taste is the most important factor in choosing a fast-food restaurant.

    Surveyors also reported their fast-food dining pet peeves, which the Zagat folks called "irritants." Cleanliness was the main irritant, cited by 49 percent of surveyors, while nutrition consequences was cited by 47 percent, followed by food quality (38 percent), service (37 percent) and noise (16 percent).

    The lowest overall ranking in the survey belonged to a chain that, well, isn't exactly all about the food anyway, really: Chuck E. Cheese's. For more information about Zagat, go to

    Contact food and dining reporter Mark Fisher at (937) 225-2258 or

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