Here’s the Most Popular Fast Food Burger in the United States

updated Aug 1, 2019
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Fast food burgers are like professional sports teams: there’s some regional divisions but everybody has a favorite and they’re usually fiercely loyal to it. And just like with professional sports teams, somebody’s got to be the champion: that’s why Market Force International does an annual survey to figure out just which burger is America’s favorite. The answer this year, reports Yahoo!, is California’s darling, In-N-Out.

The West Coast chain is known for its quality, fresh meat burgers and its rather un-secret secret menu of “animal style” burger options — adding pickle, grilled onions, and “extra spread” (a Thousand Island-like sauce). The chain is a little different than many in that it’s known for paying and treating employees well and hasn’t done any franchising, or gone public. Stores all need to be within a certain distance of a distribution center, meaning that In-N-Out keeps a tight hold on its production chain, which helps keep the quality up (and this means it’s only in a tiny fraction of the country, making its title even more impressive).

Behind In-N-Out, the next best burger chains are Five Guys Burger and Fries and the Midwestern favorite Culver’s. The big national chains, however, are at the bottom of the barrel, with Burger King, Carl’s Jr, Wendy’s, Jack-in-the-Box, and (in very last) McDonald’s all getting panned. Digging deeper into the numbers, when it comes to food quality, you see Smashburger join the top ranks (and win in the healthy options category) and Steak ‘n Shake and Whataburger show up for value. Unsurprisingly, employee-friendly In-N-Out tops the staff friendliness category.

But even as In-N-Out took top honors in the burger rankings, it lost out on another title. Last year, it had also been the top fast food restaurant overall in the country, but this year it was overtaken by the Southern chicken chain, Chick-fil-A.