The four chains featured here placed No. 1 in their respective segments, with consumers reporting their love for characteristics ranging from the brands’ food quality to a reputation for excellence. The factors driving their success with guests are detailed below.

Limited-Service winner: In-N-Out Burger

Irvine, Calif.; 292 units



Survey strengths

Food Quality:
The burgers are made from never-frozen, 100-percent beef patties ground in-house and served on house-baked buns. Potatoes are cut and fried in-house for fries, and milk shakes are made from real ice cream. Order your burger “animal style,” and your patty will be grilled with mustard, and topped with grilled onions and extra sauce.

Value: A Double-Double cheeseburger with fries is roughly $5 near Los Angeles. Given the quality, In-N-Out’s prices are hard to beat.

Service: The starting wage for employees is higher than the minimum wages in its markets, and the chain is known for low turnover.

Reputation: People have loved the concept since 1948 in California. Slow growth has brought outlets to Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Texas, where it has maintained its popularity.

Likely to Recommend/Return: Fans are unwavering in their devotion. In California, in particular, all other burger brands are compared to In-N-Out, and visitors are advised to visit the chain at least once.

More on Limited Service:
In-N-Out again leads Limited-Service rankings
Limited-Service rankings