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Fast food consumer report 2014

Consumer winners and losers
Consumer winners and losers
consumerreports.org

The consumer has spoken. And they don't like McDonald's. Or Taco Bell, or Burger King, or Subway. Pretty much any chain who is massively successful, and therefore has locations everywhere should be snubbed and demeaned as an inferior product. You can find the full report here.

To be fair, there's a good deal of legitimacy in this collective taste evaluation. Yes, you will find a better, more wholesome burrito rolled in front of your eyes as Chipotle than you will at Taco Bell. It will also cost you at least twice as much. Everyone knows the chicken from Chick-fil-A is better cared for than most customers at KFC.

You're going to likely find yourself agreeing with most of the rankings on the consumer taste report. And as long as we keep in mind that this is reporting on taste alone, not convenience, price, service, or variety (factors in the annual fast food top 20), we'll be okay.

But there's a more sinister side as well. You might well be lured into believing that these taste evaluations are purely objective, because they seem roughly proportionate and, you know, there are numbers there, so...science! Not so fast. Look at the burger list. Are you really trying to tell me that Jack in the Box, Burger King, and Krystal fall significantly lower in taste than White Castle? That's madness. Krystal and White Castle are twins separated at birth. It's time to start second-guessing the data.

Look, I know we all love Five Guys and In n Out. Nothing wrong with that, they're the best in taste. But I do wonder how much taste ratings skew to the underdogs. Not to delve too far into the psychology, but we've all got this thing where we want to believe we've discovered the best hole in the wall BBQ joint in the world, and none of your chain restaurants will ever compete, mainly because they're not the place that only I know about. That sort of thing.

That's what always makes me skeptical about reports in which people dump on the Big 3 collectively. Proof? There are 290 In n Out restaurants in America versus over 14,000 McDonald's. That means, on a national average, one In N out per every forty-nine McDonald's. I'm not done. That burger chain who landed the number one spot in taste, The Habit Burger Grill—you're wondering why you've been missing out all this time? Oh, that's because there's five of them. Total. All in Utah. Yeah, glad that's on the list. I just can't believe they didn't include ZZ's diner: there's two in my neighborhood, and you simply haven't had a BLT- no, you haven't lived, till you've tried it from them!

Why is Five Guys leading the way?