Reader survey crowns the best burger and fast-food chains in the US

Subway, McDonald's and Wendy's have emerged as the most popular "mega chains" for thousands of diners in Zagat's annual national fast-food survey in the US.

After compiling the opinions of more than 6,000 diners across the country, the crowd-sourcing diner's guide found that Subway topped the list as the most popular "mega chain" - defined as having more than 5,000 units - followed by McDonald's and Wendy's.

The sandwich shop chain was also the fast-food restaurant of choice for providing the best healthy options and top service.

For years the battle for fast-food supremacy was understood to be between McDonald's and burger foe Burger King. But Subway has become a golden-arched rival for McDonald's, creating a ubiquitous presence around the world with more than 35,000 outlets in 98 countries. McDonald's says it has "more than" 33,000 restaurants in the world.

Despite playing second fiddle to Subway, McDonald's managed to sweep other categories in the Zagat survey, taking the top spot for best French fries, value menu, overall value, being the most child-friendly and having the best drive-thru.

Buffalo Wild Wings also took home the title of best wings, a new category added this year.

Five Guys, the red-and-white-checkered burger joint that serves a simple menu of burgers and hot dogs, was also named the most favorite "large chain" restaurant (franchises with less than 5,000 units), followed by Panera Bread and Chipotle. Five Guys also scored the coveted title of serving the best burger.

The top overall rated large chains were chicken chain Chick-fil-A, In-N-Out Burger which boasts a cult following, and Papa Murphy's.

Meanwhile, a Consumer Reports survey released in June crowned In-N-Out Burger the crowd favorite of fast-food joints, handily beating out McDonald's, Burger King.

Here are the full results of Zagat's National Fast Food Restaurant Survey, released Tuesday. For more, visit http://www.zagat.com/fastfood.

Popular Favorites:




Mega Chains

Large Chains

Quick Refreshment


1. Subway

1. Five Guys

1. Starbucks


2. McDonald's

2. Panera Bread

2. Dunkin' Donuts


3. Wendy's

3. Chipotle

3. Culver's


4. Burger King

4. Chick-fil-A

4. Ben & Jerry's


5. Taco Bell

5. In-N-Out Burger

5. Cold Stone Creamery





Top Ratings:: This year's Top Overall Rated chains (averaging food, facilities and service ratings) are:

Mega Chains

Large Chains

Quick Refreshment


1. Wendy's,

1. Chick-fil-A

1. Pinkberry


2. Subway

2. In-N-Out Burger

2. Red Mango


3. McDonald's

3. Papa Murphy's

3. Peet's Coffee & Tea


4. Pizza Hut

4. Panera Bread

4. Culver's


5. KFC

5. Chipotle Mexican Grill

5. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

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