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Consumers pick their favorite chains

Papa Murphy’s is the most likely quick-service chain to be recommended by customers, while Raising Cane’s earns the best word of mouth among fast-casuals and Cheddar’s gets the warmest shout outs of full-service-restaurant patrons, according to a new preference rating of more than 100 chains by consumers. The three brands earned the Chain Restaurant Consumers’ Choice Award for their respective segments in the category of Intent to Recommend.

The winners of Consumers’ Choice Awards in this and four other categories of competition were named this morning by Technomic Inc., which used an ongoing survey of consumers’ brand preferences to determine the best in each classification.

Consumers picked Chick-fil-A as the top quick-service restaurant in the Pleasant, Friendly Service category. McAlister’s Deli was honored for having the warmest service in the fast-casual market and Cracker Barrel prevailed among full-service chains.

In the category of Welcoming, Comfortable Atmosphere, Caribou Coffee finished first among QSRs, Firehouse Subs prevailed in fast casual and Maggiano’s won in full service.

Asked to rate chains on the uniqueness of their menu signatures, consumers picked Cold Stone Creamery in quick service, Zaxby’s in fast casual and The Cheesecake Factory in full service.

Jamba Juice was the highest-rated QSR chain in the Availability of Healthy Options category. Jason’s Deli got the nod in fast casual and Seasons 52 was the top choice in full service.

“These awards show that consumers recognize chains’ hard work and attention to their needs regarding all aspects of the dining experience,” said Darren Tristano, vice president at Technomic.

The ratings were generated via Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics performance study, an ongoing assessment by consumers. The company estimates the data reflect more than 85,000 restaurant visits.

The winners in all five categories, which Technomic calls the Pillars of Excellence, will be honored next week at an event hosted by the researcher in Newport Beach, Calif.

Consumers’ favorite chains overall, based on Technomic’s research, and the reasons for their top-place finishes are examined in the issue of Restaurant Business magazine that will be posted online at its website, RestaurantBusinessOnline.com.

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