Operations

Chick-fil-A's top-ranking customer-satisfaction score may be slipping

In this year's American Customer Satisfaction Index, the Atlanta-based chain remains the top limited-service chain. But its customer-satisfaction score declined.
Chick-fil-A ranked highest among limited-service chains for customer satisfaction, but its score declined 2% year-over-year. | Photo: Shutterstock.

For the 10th consecutive year, Chick-fil-A earned the highest consumer-satisfaction score among limited-service restaurant chains. But is the chicken chain’s crown slipping?

The annual American Customer Satisfaction Index, or ACSI, released Tuesday said Chick-fil-A earned an overall score of 83 out of 100 in the survey, topping the list of limited-service restaurant chains. But that’s also a 2% decline from Chick-fil-A’s score last year.

The slip also narrowed the gap between leader Chick-fil-A and the No. 2-ranking chain, KFC, which held steady on the ACSI with a score of 81, the same as last year.

A spokesperson for ACSI suggested higher pricing may be to blame.

“While Chick-fil-A has long enjoyed customer loyalty for its quality and service, recent price hikes seem to be taking a toll on customer satisfaction,” the spokesperson said. “The fast-food chain’s latest [price] increases appear to be pushing even its traditionally less price-sensitive patrons to their limit.”


Still, though inflation appears to be slowing the frequency of restaurant visits for lower-income consumers, overall customer satisfaction among limited-service restaurants improved by 1% year-over-year, the survey found.

Full-service restaurants fared even better, improving their overall customer-satisfaction scores by 4%, led by brands perceived as offering good value.

At the top of the ranking for full-service chains, LongHorn Steakhouse and Texas Roadhouse tied for the top score of 85, which was a 4% increase for both brands respectively.

The report credited the fact that both brands are steak focused, though both are also perceived as offering good value for the money.

Also showing customer-satisfaction improvement were Olive Garden (+4%), Chili’s (+4%) and IHOP, which all have been touting value offerings. The latter had an 8% increase in customer satisfaction with a score of 78.

Those that saw declines in customer satisfaction include Outback Steakhouse (-4%), Red Lobster (-1%), Denny’s (-1%) and Red Robin (-1%).


What were consumers least satisfied with?

Food delivery.

For the first time, the ACSI survey—which is based on about 14,600 respondents answering questions via email between April 2023 and March 2024—asked consumers about third-party delivery providers like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub.

Delivery as a category overall earned a score of 73, well below the ranking of most restaurant chains. Uber Eats scored highest with a 74, followed by DoorDash (73) and Grubhub (71).

For delivery, the survey asked about reasons for using the service. Those looking for convenience were generally more satisfied than those ordering delivery out of necessity (like not having a car or for health reasons).

Those motivated by necessity were more frustrated with the higher pricing for food delivery, the report said.

It should be noted that food delivery also was among the lowest ranked among all industries, in terms of customer satisfaction.

The customer-service score for food delivery ranked well below that of other sometimes-hated industries, even lower than, for example, property and casualty insurance (77), airlines (76) and the U.S. Postal Service (74).

 

 

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