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Chick-fil-A comes out on top of customer service ranking - for the 8th year

The chicken chain outperformed its competitors and the restaurant industry overall according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

ATLANTA — An annual ranking of customer service at popular restaurants in the United States has released its latest ranking and a popular Georgia-based eatery made the top of the list yet again.

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), Chick-fil-A leads the industry for the eighth year in a row with a score of 83. The average rating for fast food restaurants was 76 with McDonald's ranking last at 68 - a drop of 3%.

To score the popular chicken restaurant and others, the study analyzed interviews with 20,143 customers chosen at random and contacted by email.

Overall, it found that full-service restaurants, overall, maintained a rating of 80 while fast-food restaurants saw a score decrease of 2.6% to 76. However, fast food restaurants held steady with a score of 83 for app quality while full-service restaurants saw their score drop 8% to 78.

The drop among smaller full-service restaurants, according to Forrest Morgeson, an assistant professor of marking at Michigan State, was related to the pandemic.

“Amid the pandemic, restaurants needed to quickly up their game in the mobile arena," Morgeson said in a statement provided by ACSI. "With fewer resources, smaller chains and independent restaurants are offering apps that aren’t making the grade per customers."

Morgeson said that several larger chains saw "positive shifts" in their app quality and reliability "to reflect major app updates for these bigger industry players."

Longhorn Steakhouse and Texas Roadhouse took the top spot for the smaller full-service restaurant category with unchanged scores of 80 for both. Applebee's and IHOP are tied for the bottom of the category with scores of 73.

Overall, the report said that customers still prefer full-service restaurants over other options.

The study found that they outperformed fast-food restaurants in food order accuracy, layout and cleanliness, food quality, and food variety.

The study also said that staff in full-service restaurants were more courteous and helpful at full-service restaurants when compared to chains.

And while fast-food restaurants beat full-service in the quality of their mobile apps, full-service restaurants were rated as having more reliable apps.

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