Gulp. Zagat Names Its Fast Food Winners


Zagat announced the winners of its broad sweep fast food survey today, based on 806,000 fast food meals consumed by 6,107 respondents, who voted for 103 national chains. Recognize the best fast food burger this year?

Really, the best part of the Zagat Fast Food Survey are the wry comments about some of the restaurants made by the voters, which Zagat published, unattributed, as "outtakes."

"Food doesn't taste much better than the facilities smell."

"Usually dreadful, sometimes rises to awful,"

"Low-end burgers in a world of Formica,"

"Their cheese has never met a cow, nor been in the same room as one."

"I tend to lose my enthusiasm as the grease begins to run down my arm."


Nevertheless, the voters managed to pick their winners among the greasy food chefs, and voted according to Zagat's four major categories of fast food restaurants:

1) Large Chains, 2) Mega Chains, 3) Quick Refreshment Chains, and 4) Full Service Chains.

The best overall restaurants in each of these categories were 1) Panera Bread, 2) Subway, 3) Starbucks Coffee, and 4) P.F. Chang's China Bistro.

I love to check which specific foods won voters' recognition, like:

Best Burger: In-N-Out Burger (Pictured here...)

Best Fries:  McDonald's

Best Coffee: Starbucks (beat out Dunkin' Donuts by a nose)

Best Fast Food: Panera (my fave is Chipotle)

Best Value: McDonald's

Among the full service fast food restaurants Cheesecake Factory won several awards, including Best Salads, Best Coffee, Best Appetizer and, thankfully, Best Desserts.

If you'd like to take a look at the complete list of Zagat's Fast Food Survey winners, check out its website and you'll find the top five fast food establishments in each "best" category.

(I think they should have some worst fast food categories too!)



Jun 9, 2009
by John P. Barker
John P. Barker's picture

I can't help it...

That burger looks good!  Greasy.... ooooooh, yeah.  But good...

The funny thing is that I used to photograph food for commercials and it is absolutely inedible due to the chemicals poured on them to make them photograph well.  If you don't put any glycerine and such on them, the food looks... grey.  Nasty.