The End of the Fast-Food Giants

Consumers crave quality over price

In-N-Out Burger Consumer Reports Reuters McDonald's Taco Bell KFC

Is it any wonder that In-N-Out Burger scored well on the Consumer Reports survey?     Photo: Simon Willison/Flickr

Fast-food juggernauts such as McDonald's and KFC might have taken over the world, but their days of domestic dominance may be numbered if they don't start offering healthier and more innovative menu items. That was the takeaway from Consumer Reports' latest fast-food survey, which came out today. 

Consumer Reports received feedback from readers who ate 92,208 meals at 65 chains and ranked the food on a scale of 1 to 10. Results were divided into culinary categories, like burgers, sandwiches, and Mexican food.

The results had many of the larger chains like McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Subway scoring near or at the bottom in their respective categories, while chains known to focus on quality ingredients, such as In-N-Out Burger and Chipotle, fared much better.

As Consumer Reports senior projects editor Tod Marks told Reuters, "More and more, food quality—not just low price—is emerging as a deciding factor for many Americans."

Food quality is also usurping convenience in what American consumers look for in fast food, as survey results also suggest that consumers are increasingly willing to go farther out of their way to get a more satisfying dining experience.

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