In-N-Out Burger vs. McDonald’s: Guess who won?

You won’t be shocked, if like me you think McDonald’s tastes like salty cardboard.  If I have to eat fast food, then I try to make it something that will taste good.  There’s plenty of options here in Portland to not have to eat at McDonald’s or Burger King and thank good for that.  Still, it’d be nice to have an In-N-Out Burger up here.

Consumers rate regional food chains above national fast-food chains in overall customer experience, according to a recent survey by Sandelman & Associates, a San Clemente, Calif., market research and consumer-trends firm.

In a survey of 94,000 users last year, In-N-Out Burger of Irvine, Calif., was the top winner in overall customer satisfaction, which takes into account, among other things, quality of food and service, cleanliness and value for the money, in the 2008 Quick-Track Awards of Excellence.

“It’s probably easier to maintain the highest standards if you’re only operating in a couple of states,” says Paul Clarke, vice president of sales and marketing at Sandelman & Associates. “So, customers recognize the difference.”

Indeed, consumers appear to be “trading down” from high-end restaurants and frequenting lower-priced restaurants more than they used to. Sales are predicted to pick up in quick-service restaurants by 0.4% this year, while full-service restaurant sales are expected to decline by 2.5%, according to the National Restaurant Association.

My test for whether or not a fast food place is worth the extra time and money is if they use fresh cut potatoes for their french fries.

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