10 Best Fast Food Restaurants in America
4) The Habit Burger Grill
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The Fiscal Times
July 3, 2014

There are a few surprises on the Consumer Reports’ list this year of the best fast food restaurants in America – and a few names that are not that well known nationally.

The bottom line is that whether we’re aiming to eat pizza, burgers, chicken or grilled sandwiches, Americans want a lot more than just food on the cheap when we eat out. We care about the quality and freshness of our food; we care about the quality of the service we receive. These priorities when choosing a destination for grabbing a quick bite emerged in Consumer Reports most recent ranking of our nation’s fast food restaurants.

SLIDESHOW: The 10 Best Fast Food Restaurants in America

The magazine asked more than 32,000 readers – who ate more than 96,000 meals at 65 chains – what they thought. The less ubiquitous fast food restaurants and the regional ones were the most popular with diners.

Respondents looked at five criteria to rank each chain: food quality and freshness, value, politeness, speed of service, and cleanliness of the dining area. Based on these criteria, they had to come up with a grade out of 100.

The top winner: In-N-Out Burger, which has a cult following of fans from across the country. Its restaurants are only available in a handful of states, mostly on the West Coast, which means that for many Americans, vacationing in California often includes paying a visit to an In-N-Out Burger restaurant.

Other names that made the list of the best fast food restaurants include Chick-fil-A and Potbelly Sandwich Shop, but most of the other chains on the list aren’t that well known.

“You’ll find many fine national (defined as operating in six or more states) and regional restaurants,” noted Consumer Reports.

Click here to see the 10 Best Fast Food Restaurants in America. 

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Marine Cole has been covering finance and business for a decade and has written for publications that include The Wall Street Journal, Crain's New York Business, and AdvertisingAge.