Survey reveals concern of fast-food health standards

by Staff
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NEW YORK — Wendy’s is the most popular fast-food mega chain, and Panera Bread Co. is the most popular overall fast-food chain, according to a Zagat Survey of 5,535 participants.

Outback Steakhouse won top popularity and food honors among full-service chains.

"Not all fast-food restaurants are created equal — nor were they meant to be," said Tim Zagat, chief executive officer of Zagat Survey. "Some are better at burgers and others are masters of milkshakes. This survey reveals what fast-food restaurants are doing right, and where there is room for improvement. The big challenge right now is the public’s concerns, expressed by 93% of our respondents, about the industry’s health standards."

The high percentage of respondents voicing health concerns is a result of recent books and films such as "Fast Food Nation" and "Super Size Me" as well as trans fat debates and E. coli scares, according to the survey provider. However, when participants were asked how the banning of trans fat in fast-food restaurants would affect their habits, 96% said they would eat out the same amount or more. Additionally, Subway was voted as being the healthiest option.

Even though participants expressed concerns about health standards, 79% of those surveyed said taste is the most important factor in choosing a fast-food restaurant with price and value also being a significant factor. At full-service restaurants, 86% of surveyors said food is most important with service also being a high priority.

In the fast-food mega-chain category, Wendy’s also won for top food and facilities with Subway being recognized for top service. In the fast-food overall chain category, Panera also came in first for top food and facilities with top service going to Chick-fil-A.

In the full-service chain category, Outback Steakhouse also won for top food, but top facilities and service went to Cracker Barrel. Applebee’s won for health options in this category thanks to its Weight Watchers menu selection.

McDonald’s was recognized for the best fries with Burger King and Wendy’s also receiving recognition in this category. Chick-fil-A won for best chicken in fast food just slightly ahead of KFC, and Dairy Queen was voted as having the best milkshakes.

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