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America's least favorite fast-food restaurants

You want to lay off the Whoppers and Big Macs. But sometimes you're in a rush and the drive-thru is right there, and those fries are so good.

By Jun 20, 2014 11:32AM
This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site on MSN MoneyAmericans spend billions of dollars on fast food every year, which is funny, because they're not all that satisfied with it. People enjoy full-service restaurants much more than fast-food ones, even when it comes to speed of service, according to the 2014 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), but people keep going back.

Love-hate relationships with fast food are common: It's often unhealthy and addictive, but it's convenient and cheap (until it adds up -- Americans spent $117 billion on fast food in 2011, according to Fast Food Marketing).

Fastfood working © Creatas/PictureQuestAs a result, it's unsurprising that some of the most popular fast-food chains are also among the least liked from a customer satisfaction standpoint

Here are the bottom five, from bad to worst:

5. (tie) Burger King
ACSI score: 76 (out of 100), same score as 2013

5. (tie) Starbucks

Score: 72, down 4 points 

4. Dunkin' Donuts
Score: 75, down 5 points

3. KFC
Score: 74, down 7 points

2. Taco Bell
Score: 72, down 2 points

1. McDonald's
Score: 71, down 2 points

The scores are based on 4,572 random customer interviews between Jan 13 and March 11.

People may be less satisfied with these traditional drive-thru kings, but enthusiasm for fast food isn't exactly waning. The best experiences seem to come from smaller chains like Panera and Chipotle, which were grouped together in the "other" category that held the top spot with a score of 84. The remaining spots in the top five were taken by pizza joints: Papa John's (82), Pizza Hut (82), Little Caesar (80) and Domino's (80).

It's unsurprising that eating out is a common budget-killer, and using a credit card when doing so means you're likely to spend more than if you were paying with cash. And if you tend to carry credit card debt from month to month, especially if it's higher than 30 percent of your credit limit, you're not really doing your credit standing any favors. (You can get an idea of your credit standing for free by checking your scores on, where you can also get a breakdown of what's influencing your credit, and a plan to improve it.)

A fast-food addiction can easily deplete your bank account or trash your credit if you thoughtlessly charge all those runs to the drive-thru, so make sure you're considering the whole picture before eating out: Convenience and speed may not be worth it when it comes to quality and cost.

More from

Jun 20, 2014 2:27PM
I didn't realize Starbuck's was fast food!

Jun 20, 2014 1:57PM
If Americans hate these fast food restaurants so much, how come Americans, on the average buy fast food 4 times per week?  
Jun 20, 2014 1:58PM
If 71% of people like your will be around for a long time...
Jun 20, 2014 1:45PM
Really, all of the brands on the list are making money like they are printing it.  What tools did they ask?
Jun 20, 2014 2:17PM
This is list makes no sense at all.  Starbucks is fifth from the bottom?  You kidding me?  Then explain why I see people lined up around the block trying to get into one. 
Jun 20, 2014 2:26PM
Poppa Johns, Pizza Hut, Little Caesars and Dominos, anyone who rates that crap pizza highly doesn't know what a good pizza is.
Jun 20, 2014 2:59PM
avatar about a comment sections on the emails that the IRS claims to be lost????
Jun 20, 2014 1:57PM
that's not true.  Each and every one on the list has made a ton of money this year...WHAT The heck NBC
Jun 20, 2014 2:58PM
 "I hate McDonalds"  "are you ready to order sir?"   "Yes I'll have the quarter pounder with cheese a 20 piece mcnugget and a large chocolate shake and two apple pie's  oh and super size that"   "Now as I was saying I hate McDonalds"
Jun 20, 2014 2:25PM
I do not consider any of these places "restaurants".
Jun 20, 2014 2:33PM
Ever since a young boy I have enjoyed KFC, but back then it was known as Kentucky Fried Chicken. Never did understand why they changed the name to just KFC? No big deal. Unfortunately, I have noticed as of late, many of the restaurants that I have gone to are not at the same levels they were before. Some of them were just down right nasty. The stores were dirty, and some of the staff looked like they could have done with a good scrub down. They seem to be left behind in comparison to many others. McDonald's from what I have observed have always kept their stores clean - well at least the ones I have visited. I hope these are just isolated cases with KFC, because I would hate to see them go out of business.
Jun 20, 2014 2:37PM
they don't hate the restaurants as much as they hate how they feel after eating the food and they hate themselves for having went there
Jun 20, 2014 2:21PM
I like their burgers, but I don't like going to Burger King. Counter customers stand and wait for long periods while drive-up customers are being served.
Jun 20, 2014 2:04PM
The number of sites divided into their gross sales would be a better measure. Those people questioned told them what they expected you wanted to hear. A lot of people like to knock the fast-food places but they're still making a lot of money.
Jun 20, 2014 2:46PM
I really find this boring, in that this same article was posted not to long ago.  You would think that there would be other issues of interest that need to be expressed and commented on vice reintroducing the same article over and over.
Jun 20, 2014 2:58PM
I'm betting people were given this list and asked to rank them, instead of just asking people "what is your least favorite fast food restaurant."
Jun 20, 2014 2:58PM
Jun 20, 2014 2:40PM
If you want a real gross experience go to a Captain D's seafood, filthy stores, gross products, grease soaked food, and their kitchens stink of old grease.  I watched them put up an order and a fish filet fell from the plate onto a counter below, they picked up the fish, put it back on the plate and called the order.  I just had a drink, thank you very much, I wasn't really hungry after going inside the building. 
Jun 20, 2014 2:49PM
Burger Kiing is just awful, KFC no thanks. I like Wendy's best for your typical fast food joint.
Jun 20, 2014 2:45PM

gimmie my dollar menu burger and fries and Taco bell's goodness at their great prices any day.  lol.

I went to Panera for lunch once...$10 didn't even cover ME! 

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