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In an industry rife with competition, quick-service restaurants are pulling out all the stops to turn patrons into loyal customers.
Diners aren't just looking for quality food or speedy service, they want both. Chains that are able to adapt to changing consumer demands are better equipped to keep customers walking in the front door.
Market Force Information is out with a new set of restaurant rankings culled from the responses of more than 11,000 people and aggregated into a composite loyalty index that measures satisfaction with the food quality, service, value and restaurant experience, among other things.
The company averaged each chain's score to determine which had the highest loyalty rating.
Here's what Market Force found:
California-based In-N-Out Burger is a beloved brand with West Coast diners and took the top spot in the burger category of Market Force's survey. The restaurant earned a score of 79 percent, 5 percentage points higher than its next closest competitor, Culver's.
In-N-Out Burger scored the high marks in all sections of the composite loyalty index, including staff friendliness, value, food quality, speed of service, overall cleanliness, curb appeal, atmosphere and healthy options.
Other top burger chains included Five Guys, which received a score of 70 percent, and Smashburger, which scored 58 percent. In comparison, the lowest ranked chains were Carl's Jr. with 44 percent, Burger King with 41 percent and McDonald's with 36 percent.
Burger chains were popular among consumers, with 45 percent of respondents saying they visited a fast-food or fast-casual burger chain at least five times during the 90 days prior to the survey, according to Market Force Information.
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Chipotle has struggled in recent years to keep up its sales, but diners still regard the brand highly for its food quality and cleanliness. The chain ranked No. 1 in Market Force's list of quick-service Mexican restaurants.
Chipotle scored 57 percent, narrowly beating out Moe's Southwest Grill and El Pollo Loco, which both had 55 percent.
Respondents to the survey said that Chipotle had the best speed of service, food quality, overall cleanliness and curb appeal. It's not a big surprise that the Mexican chain scored high points in these areas considering the extensive food safety measures that the company put in place in late 2015 after a string of foodborne illnesses dinged its reputation.
While Chipotle has made great strides to amp up its digital ordering and pay services, customers were more aware of Moe's mobile app, according to the report. Some 46 percent of respondents said that they were aware of Moe's app while 41 percent said they were aware of Chipotle's.
In a crowded field of pizza chains, Marco's Pizza came out on top. The chain scored 75 percent on the loyalty index, edging out Papa Murphy's, which held the top spot for three straight years.
Marco's Pizza received strong ratings in food quality, atmosphere and cleanliness.
Close competitors were Papa Murphy's with a score of 71 percent and Pizza Ranch, which scored 64 percent.
The lowest ranked pizza chains were Pizza Hut, Little Caesars and CiCi's pizza.
Chick-fil-A has been the top chicken chain on Market Force's loyalty ranking since the survey was first conducted four years ago, and it remains there.
The chicken chain scored 78 percent in the category, above its nearest competitor, Raising Cane's, by 8 percentage points. Chick-fil-A scored well above other chicken chains in all categories, except for one: healthy options. El Pollo Loco received a score of 57 percent in this area, while Chick-fil-A received 56 percent.
Otherwise, Chick-fil-A saw top ratings for food quality, value, speed of service, curb appeal, atmostphere and overall cleanliness. It scored 84 percent in the staff friendliness category, 15 percentage points higher than its nearest competitor.
The lowest ranked chicken chains were Popeyes, Church's Chicken and KFC.
Beating out competitors like Panera Bread, McAlister's Deli and Jersey Mike's, Firehouse Subs received the highest ranking of sandwich chains, according to Market Force. The chain received a score of 77 percent, 7 percentage points higher than its nearest competitor.
Firehouse Subs received strong ratings for food quality, cleanliness, staff friendliness and atmosphere.
While Panera was ranked high for food quality and healthy options, it had the worst value rating of the bunch.
The lowest-ranked sandwich chains were Jimmy John's, Subway and Arby's.
Correction: This story was revised to correct the change in scores to percentage points.