Friday, December 19, 2014

Fooled By Cool?

Consumer Reports recently rated fast-food restaurants.  The ratings are based on surveys of thousands of readers.  Here's what they found.

Burgers:  The best burgers are The Habit Burger Grill and In-N-Out Burger--both regional and, lucky me, both based in California.  The three worst burger joints (of those listed) are Burger King, Jack In The Box and--the lowest-rated of any place on any list--McDonald's.

Chicken:  The favorite by a solid margin is Chick-fil-A (which came to Southern California several years ago).  The least favorite is KFC.

Sandwiches and Subs:  Two of the bottom three are Arby's and Subway.  The top two I haven't even heard of--Portillo's Hot Dogs*, which gets the highest rating of any place, and Firehouse Subs.  (I checked and Portillo's serves Chicago-style hot dogs. I lived in Chicago for years.  I tried a Chicago-style hot dog once and that was enough for me. But then, I didn't like the famous Chicago-style deep dish pizza either.)

Mexican:  The highest-ranked is Chipotle Mexican Grill and the lowest is Taco Bell.

Notice a pattern?  The most successful, widespread chains get rated the lowest. The highest-rated tend to be regional chains, sometimes regional chains only recently spreading across the country.

I'm not saying the ratings are wrong.  But is hipness a factor here?  It's possible the most popular places are the worst.  It could be some lowest common denominator sort of thing.  But aren't some chains cool and others not, partly due to familiarity?  I have to wonder how people who had never eaten at any of these places and took blind taste tests would feel.

*I wrote this before my recent trip to Chicago, where someone explained to me what Portillo's was.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imagine if there was only one McDonald's in the world. People would be saying "there's this cool place in Tucson, you've got to try it if you're there. The burgers aren't like anything you've ever had and they got this thing called the Big Mac which is amazing. Also, don't forget the fries and the shakes, which are insane."

12:30 AM, December 19, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love McDonalds but I would never rate its sandwiches high versus other burgers. Its like McDonald's burgers are their own separate kind of food.

I would say the same thing about High School cafeteria pizza versus actual pizza

11:10 AM, December 19, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

High School cafeteria pizza disproves the maxim there's no such thing as bad pizza.

11:26 AM, December 19, 2014  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

That should certainly be the title of the definitive book on Mickey D's: "It's Own Separate Kind of Food"

(Robot screener is getting creative, asking me to check a box that says, "I'm not a robot." Next I'm expecting it to say "Everything I say is a lie."

12:43 PM, December 19, 2014  

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