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5 Best Fast Food Chains To Order Online From Right Now

A new report details which fast-casual restaurant chains are top dogs in the digital space.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only shifted customer expectations but also changed how limited-service restaurant chains operate, and the future of their relationship is inexplicably tied to advancements in digital.

Incisiv recently examined the digital performance of 50 limited-service restaurant chains across four categories: ordering, fulfillment, discovery, and customer engagement. Its "Limited Service Restaurant Digital Maturity Benchmark" report prioritized mobile app capabilities, and it predicted that more than 50% all sales from these restaurants will go digital by 2025. (Related: 9 Restaurant Chains That Closed Hundreds of Locations This Summer.)

Five limited-service chains have truly gone above and beyond in the digital space. Here is the list, ranked from the best to the absolute best:

5

Pizza Hut

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The beloved pizza chain broke into the top five largely as a result of its high ranking in two categories: third in ordering and fourth in ordering fulfillment. Digital ordering focuses primarily on two areas, which include customization options and recommendations, as well as payment options. According to the report, "With more than 50% of guests expressing interest in customizing their orders, a simple and streamlined process for customization is a big incentive."

Increased payment options, namely contactless ones, are also a vital part of customer experience. As far as order fulfillment goes, the need to increase efficiency, whether for dining-in or off-premise dining, is key to customer satisfaction.

4

McAlister's Deli

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The national sandwich chain is the fourth company on the overall digital leaderboard this year, in part because of its fifth place ranking in the customer engagement and service category. As the report details, customers crave more than just quality food. They also expect to feel valued and safe, especially this year. Roughly 62% of U.S. guests have switched brands in the past year due to poor customer service. Scoring a spot this high on the list means the staff at McAlister's are performing at the top of their game.

3

McDonald's

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McDonald's ranked No. 1 in the discovery category, which takes into account things like search capabilities, online menu information, home screen layout, and accessibility to store-related information. As stated in the report, "Restaurant chains should look to offer streamlined menu options that highlight time-sensitive promotions, best-sellers, recommendations, and preparation details."

The Golden Arches also placed second in the service category. (Related: McDonald's Rare Original Golden Arch Can Only Be Found In These States.)

2

Panera Bread

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Panera earned the highest score for order fulfillment, plus it also finished in seventh place in service and ninth place in ordering. The chain introduced curbside pick-up this year, as well as geofencing, which notifies staff members when a customer has arrived to pick up their order.

1

Starbucks

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The fast-casual chain which topped all others on the 2020 digital leaderboard is Starbucks. Snagging the top spot in service, second in discovery, and 1oth in ordering, the coffee giant takes the digital cake. The beloved beverage brand is known for its engaged mobile app rewards program, which attracts more than 16 million active users. 

For more, be sure to check out 7 Fast Food Chains Opening New Locations This Year.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more