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McDonald's Named America's #1 Most Loved Chain, But #2 May Surprise You

New research used Google search data to pinpoint Americans' favorite restaurant chains.
FACT CHECKED BY Justine Goodman

McDonald's is the largest restaurant chain in the world and an undeniable icon in the world of fast food, so it should come as no surprise that it snagged the top spot in a brand-new ranking of America's most loved chains. However, the chain that scored second place in this new ranking may not be one that consumers would expect.

The price-tracking website PriceListo recently set out to find America's favorite chains by looking at average monthly search volumes on Google to gauge customer interest in various restaurant brands. It analyzed more than 250 chains in total and then compiled the 10 with the highest number of overall searches into a report shared with Eat This, Not That!

McDonald's led every other chain by a landslide in the analysis. It receives 22.9 million searches on average each month, while all of the other chains' average monthly searches haven't even cracked 16 million.

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"To see McDonald's dominate the top spot is not too surprising. After all, it continues to reign supreme in profits and number of customers globally," a PriceListo spokesperson said in a statement on the research findings.

Consumers would be fair to expect the second-place spot to go to a chain that's close to McDonald's level in terms of sales or size, such as Chick-fil-A or Starbucks. However, it was Domino's that ended up stealing the runner-up spot.

Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

Data compiled by the research firm Technomic shows that Domino's was America's tenth-largest fast-food chain in 2023, raking in $9 billion in sales last year compared to McDonald's $53.1 billion. Domino's is also far behind McDonald's in terms of physical size, ending 2023 with 6,854 stores in the United States compared to Mickey D's 13,547 American units.

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However, the pizza chain sees a whopping 15.8 million searches on average per month, according to the report. So despite the significant differences in sales and store count between the two chains, the PriceListo analysis indicates Domino's is McDonald's biggest competitor right now in terms of customer interest.

Chick-fil-A restaurant
Photo: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock. Design: Eat This, Not That!

The third-place spot in the ranking went to Chick-fil-A, which was close behind Domino's with an average of 15.4 million monthly searches. Chick-fil-A's position near the top isn't a shock at all, given that its customer service was recently ranked as the best in America. The chicken chain has also received the highest customer satisfaction ranking out of any fast-food chain for nine consecutive years in the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Restaurant Study.

Taco Bell came in fourth place with 12.1 million average monthly searches, followed by Pizza Hut (10 million), Chipotle (9.8 million), Subway (8.4 million), Burger King (7.7 million), Wendy's (6.8 million), and Texas Roadhouse (6.7 million).

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe