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Market Force Study Finds Five Guys is America’s Favorite Burger Chain

Wed 19 September 2012

In-N-Out Burger and Fuddruckers rank No. 2 and 3 in national consumer survey


BOULDER, Colo. — Five Guys Burgers and Fries (Five Guys) is continuing to gain ground and fans across the country, according to a new survey from Market Force Information, a worldwide leader in customer intelligence solutions. In a quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry survey of more than 7,600 U.S. consumers, Market Force found that Five Guys is their favorite burger chain.


Five Guys earned the No. 1 spot in the Market Force study. The results proved consistent with the brand’s rapid growth, as well as the popularity of its food and atmosphere. West Coast favorite In-N-Out Burger, which is also known for having passionate patrons and strong word-of-mouth buzz, ranked second among consumers. Rounding out the top five were Fuddruckers, A&W and relative-newcomer Smashburger. See Graph 1.


Graph 1: Favorite Hamburger Chains Indexed by Door Count

Graph 1: Favorite Hamburger Chains Indexed by Door Count


This set of research is the first in a series of findings from a study that evaluated consumer preferences across six QSR restaurant categories. Market Force first calculated the favorites based on pure number of votes, and then factored in the number of locations for each chain for a more level view of the results. The results were also analyzed geographically to see which chains are most popular in various regions of the country, including Northeast, Midwest, South and West.


Slicing and Dicing the Results by U.S. Region

When Market Force looked at the results to determine how the burger brands fared in four different regions of the country, Five Guys still dominated, ranking first place in all of the regions. From there, the regional leaders diverged, although Fuddruckers, a relatively small chain, placed in the top four across all regions. See Graph 2.


Graph 2: Favorite Hamburger Chains by Region

Graph 2: Favorite Hamburger Chains by Region


How Burger Joints Differentiate by Attribute

What factors do diners like most about their favorite burger joint? The study shows that many seem to vote with their palates rather than their wallets. As a case in point, the three top-ranking burger chains – Five Guys, Smashburger and In-N-Out – all rated toward the top in key categories such as food quality/taste, friendly service and cleanliness. In fact, Five Guys received the highest marks across all of the major attributes except value, a category that was captured by In-N-Out and Whataburger. See Graph 3


Graph 3: Top Nine Burger Chains Ranked by Attributes*

Graph 3: Top Nine Burger Chains Ranked by Attributes*

*Only includes QSR brands that received at least 2% of the vote


“Five Guys has created a cult-like brand following by excelling in the areas that matter most to its diners – high-quality food, customer service and cleanliness,” said Janet Eden-Harris, chief marketing officer for Market Force. “Five Guys does zero advertising, but by delivering consistently great customer experience, they’re able to build a word-of-mouth buzz that continues to bring new customers through the door.”


Survey Demographics

The survey was conducted in August 2012 across the United States. The pool of 7,600 respondents reflected a broad spectrum of income levels, with half reporting household incomes of more than $50,000 a year. Respondents’ ages ranged from 19 to over 65. Approximately one-quarter were men and 75% were women, and 73% reported working full or part time. Half of the respondents have children at home and more than two-thirds are married.


For more information on Market Force’s customer intelligence solutions for the restaurant industry, please visit our website.


About Market Force Information

Market Force is the leading global customer intelligence solutions company for multi-location businesses, including major retailers, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, financial institutions, entertainment studios and consumer packaged goods companies. With more than 125 years of combined industry experience, Market Force Information has pioneered the industry with a suite of customer intelligence solutions – from 600,000 field associates across North America and Europe who conduct mystery shopping, merchandising and retail auditing, to real customer surveys and proprietary decision-support tools. Its solutions provide a holistic view of the customer's on-site experience and identify the actions required at the store level to increase customer loyalty and improve financial performance. Market Force was named one of Forbes’ America’s Most Promising Companies in 2011. For more information, visit