ACSI

McDonald’s may be radio’s top fast food advertiser but it is Chick-fil-A that has the most satisfied customers. Chick-fil-A, a regular radio user, ranked No. 1 on the American Customer Satisfaction Index with a score of 83 out of 100, placing it at the top of the tally among what the survey refers to as limited service restaurants. Close behind is Domino’s, an occasional radio user with an 80, followed by KFC which tied with Starbucks at 79, with Five Guys rounding out the top five with a satisfaction score of 78.

It’s Chick-fil-A’s seventh consecutive year at the top of the ACSI Restaurant Study 2020-2021 list in the fast food category. Chick-fil-A beat all full-service restaurants surveyed, including Longhorn Steakhouse, which captured the top spot in that category. The chicken specialty restaurant ranked No. 90 on the top 100 radio advertisers of 2020 with 245,000 spots.

McDonald’s, radio’s largest restaurant advertiser and 13th overall last year, came in last place on the customer satisfaction index among fast food joints with a score of 70. Wendy’s, radio’s second largest quick serve restaurant client, had the second lowest satisfaction score at 73. Taco Bell, No. 48 on the top 100 radio advertisers of 2020 tally, did better with a satisfaction score of 74. Dunkin’, which scored in the middle of the pack for satisfied customers, was No. 89 on the top radio advertiser list.

The average score among limited-service restaurants was 78.

Convenience Remains Top Priority

The restaurant industry was massively disrupted by the pandemic, causing many eateries to shut down. Those that survived often did so by adapting to the new reality by increasing takeout and delivery options. Now, even with Americans venturing back into eat-in restaurants, David VanAmburg, Managing Director at the ACSI, said convenience remains a top priority for customers. “During the pandemic, folks got a taste for what it’s like to have food from their favorite restaurants delivered right to their door,” VanAmburg said. “And now that they’ve gotten used to this service, there’s no going back. Restaurants need to continue to give customers all the options they’ve become accustomed to over the last year and a half. If not, they might grab a bite somewhere else.”

The ACSI Restaurant Study 2020-2021 is based on interviews with 19,423 customers, chosen at random and contacted via email between April 1, 2020, and March 29, 2021. Customers are asked to evaluate their recent experiences with the largest companies in terms of market share, plus an aggregate category consisting of “all other”—and thus smaller—companies in those industries.