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America's #1 Favorite Restaurant Chain Was Just Revealed—And It's Not McDonald's

One restaurant chain stands out more than the others to American consumers.
FACT CHECKED BY Justine Goodman

It would be a grand understatement to say that Americans have no shortage of dining options nowadays, with so many fast-growing restaurant chains peppered throughout the country. However, a new survey reveals that one of those chains stands out more than the others in the minds of many Americans—and it's probably not the one you'd expect.

Nation's Restaurant News just released its first-ever report on America's Favorite Restaurant Chains in partnership with the market research firm Technomic, providing new insights on the brands that have become the biggest fan favorites in 2024. Technomic based the report on survey responses from consumers who were asked to rate different chains on their service and hospitality; unit appearance and ambiance; food and beverages; convenience and takeout; and value. Technomic then assigned percentage scores for each of those factors, and also gave an overall score for each chain.

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So, which chain scored higher than all of the others in this illuminating new report? You might assume that the title would go to a giant like McDonald's, which continues to lead every other fast-food chain in the country in terms of systemwide sales, according to data compiled by QSR Magazine. However, it was Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, a chain known for serving high-quality steaks and seafood in an upscale setting, that came out on top.

Ruth's Chris Steak House
JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

Ruth's Chris Steakhouse received an overall score of 64.8% in the report, leading second-place chain Seasons 52 (60.4%) by a solid margin. Ruth's Chris received especially high scores for its service and hospitality (76.9%) and unit appearance and ambiance (67.4%). However, the chain's marks for value were notably lower at 54.8%.

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This means that customers are big fans of the Ruth's Chris experience, but aren't as happy with the prices. For context, a Business Insider report from the summer of 2023 revealed that a family of four spent $500 at the chain for a dinner that included appetizers, drinks, and desserts.

The new report also shows that steakhouses in general are beloved among American consumers. In fact, four of the 10 chains with the highest scores in the survey were steakhouses: The Capital Grille, LongHorn Steakhouse, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse, and, of course, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.

The other brands that popped up in the top 10, in no particular order, were Dutch Bros. Coffee, Bahama Breeze, Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, and Smoothie King.

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