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The Brand Review Index

A Comparative Analysis of Leading Brands' Google Review Ratings

Fast Food and Quick Service

The size of the US fast food industry was measured by revenue at $387.5bn in 2023 and continues to show annual growth.

But in a big market with plenty of demand, who comes out on top as the king of reviews? And which brands aren’t quite satisfying customer appetites?

Read the trend analysis of the top three brands below the table.

BrandMedian Google Review RatingAvg. Google Review Rating*Locations AnalyzedAvg. Reviews Per Location
Chick-Fil-A Chick-Fil-A Logo 1020204.4 ⭐️4.3 ⭐️2,7651,792
Five Guys Five Guys Logo4.3 ⭐️4.2 ⭐️1,408769
Jersey Mike’s Jersey Mikes Logo4.2 ⭐️4.1 ⭐️2,221255
Starbucks Starbucks4.1 ⭐️3.9 ⭐️12,569341
Panera Bread Panera Bread logo4.0 ⭐️3.9 ⭐️2,044655
Arby’s Arby's logo4.0 ⭐️4.0 ⭐️3,290743
Dairy Queen Dairy Queen logo4.0 ⭐️4.0 ⭐️4,053505
Subway Subway logo3.9 ⭐️3.8 ⭐️15,895150
Dunkin’ Dunkin' logo3.8 ⭐️3.7 ⭐️7,034339
Jimmy John’s Jimmy John's logo3.8 ⭐️3.7 ⭐️2,551191
Sonic Drive-In Sonic Drive-In logo3.8 ⭐️3.7 ⭐️3,405982
Chipotle Chipotle logo3.7 ⭐️3.5 ⭐️2,988671
Domino’s Domino's logo3.7 ⭐️3.6 ⭐️6,266297
Pizza Hut Pizza Hut logo3.7 ⭐️3.6 ⭐️6,266310
Taco Bell Taco Bell logo3.7 ⭐️3.6 ⭐️7,303790
Wendy’s Wendy's logo3.7 ⭐️3.6 ⭐️5,803950
Jack in the Box Jack in the Box logo3.7 ⭐️3.7 ⭐️2,096967
Little Caesar’s Little Caesar's logo3.7 ⭐️3.7 ⭐️3,704428
Panda Express Panda Express logo3.7 ⭐️3.7 ⭐️2,123517
Papa John’s Papa John's logo3.6 ⭐️3.5 ⭐️3,023205
Popeyes Popeyes logo3.6 ⭐️3.5 ⭐️2,618913
Burger King Burger King logo3.5 ⭐️3.4 ⭐️6,765619
McDonald’s McDonald's logo3.5 ⭐️3.4 ⭐️12,7511,374
WingStop WingStop logo3.5 ⭐️3.5 ⭐️1,590369
KFC KFC logo3.4 ⭐️3.4 ⭐️3,665528

*As this is is an average of an average, and therefore not the most mathematically accurate to present, we’ve included the Median Review Google Review Rating.

Brand Size and Reputation

The chart below shows the size of the top 25 fast food brands against their median review scores.

The horizontal (X) axis represents each brand’s median Google review rating, and the vertical (Y) axis plots them by location size.

Fast Food Market Grid Final

Top Three Trend Analysis

It’s impressive for a fast food brand to maintain an average or median Google rating above 4.0 stars. Considering the nature of quick-service restaurants, there are many motivations for choosing to dine at one of these brands. The table highlights an impressive 28% of the top fast food brands with averages above 4.0.

Many customers will have their preferences, and some may even consider themselves fans of certain chains, but what about things like convenience, proximity, and value for money? How about order accuracy or speed, restaurant facilities, or even food temperature? It’s a lot for a brand to get right and maintain this consistency at scale.


For Chick-fil-A to come out on top, with nearly 3,000 locations, is no mean feat. A 2023 US survey based on customer interviews confirms that the fried chicken brand is the nation’s favorite for fast food. So what is Chick-fil-A doing so well that other fast food outlets can learn from?

Browsing Chick-fil-A’s reviews, no matter which city or state you’re in, it’s clear that customers see it as more than just a fast food outlet. Reviews frequently mention the experience of ‘dining’ in, which suggests Chick-fil-A goes above and beyond to ensure their restaurants are more than just a place for a quick bite. The theme of service stands out the most, with different locations often mentioning things like ‘smile,’ ‘efficient,’ and ‘polite’.

Chick Fil A (1)
Five Guys (1)

Five Guys

Next, Five Guys is a quick-service hamburger chain with a difference. Its slogan is ‘Always fresh. Never frozen.’ Uniquely, Five Guys does not use freezers within its establishments, meaning ingredients and meals are always freshly prepared.

Five Guys has a higher price tag than fast food rivals like Mcdonald’s or Wendy’s, so why are people happier paying more? It could be the unique selling point of its menu customization, and the novelty that comes with it. Do you need to add both types of onions to your cheeseburger? No, but it’s the same price, so why not, you know?

After skimming Google reviews for locations across the states, it’s clear that the focus on ingredients and food quality is what customers love the most. The most mentioned review keywords consistently include staples from the menu (‘patties,’ ‘shakes,’ ‘fries’), and while the higher price tag is often commented on, it’s clear that its patrons are happy with the trade-off: better quality = more money.

Jersey Mike’s

Finally, Jersey Mike’s may have considerably fewer locations across the USA than its competitor, Subway, but its reputation stands taller. 

Both Jersey Mike’s and Subway position themselves around customer choice, making their renowned subs to order right in front of their customers. Yet, while customers do often mention in reviews that Jersey Mike’s tends to be more expensive than others (we can assume this likely refers to Subway), it seems that they just like the subs better. And if they’re going out of their way to write this in a review, well, you can’t argue with it.

Never Be Average

What’s really interesting about these results is that each of the top brands has an arguably more famous counterpart: KFC, McDonald’s, and Subway. Notably, KFC and McDonald’s are among the bottom three out of 25 fast-food chains. 

It truly reinforces the point that no matter your brand size, you can’t afford to rest on your laurels. We’ve previously discussed the risks of huge brands like McDonald’s letting themselves become ‘average’ when it comes to reviews, and the Index shows just how this can happen.

While the sheer scale of US fast food brands means that consumers generally know what they’re getting when visiting different branches, our scoreboard leaders show several things. First, and most importantly, customer experience is always key. Second, there is always room in the market for something better or different.

Would you like reviews with that?