And it isn't In-N-Out.
If there's one way to start an argument, it's by taking a stand on which of America's many burger chains slings the best beef patties. There's, of course, the classic Shake Shack versus In-N-Out debate. But don't discount regional favorites like Whataburger and Culver's garnering as much pride as the bigger players. To add fuel to that fire, this week, The Harris Poll released its 2018 EquiTrend Brands of the Year, an annual look at how customers view companies "comprised of three factors—Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration—that result in a brand equity rating for each brand," according to the website. This year's results were pulled from over 77,000 respondents nationwide, ranking more than 3,000 brands across hundreds of categories.
But let's get to the beef! In the burger category, this year's poll found that, yet again, America's favorite hamburger purveyor wasn't stalwart loyalist chain In-N-Out, but Five Guys. (Yes, the place with the peanut shells on the floor.) This marks the second year in a row that the Virginia-based burger chain has edged out its California-cool competitor.
However, earlier this year, Market Force Information also released its own survey of Americans' appetites. In the burger category, MFI's results differed slightly, putting In-N-Out ahead of Five Guys by 13 percentage points in customer loyalty. If there's any takeaway here, it's perhaps that while In-N-Out's fans come back over and over, Five Guys is appealing to the more casual burger eater.
Here's how the other food categories in The Harris Poll's EquiTrend Brands of the Year shook out:
Chicken Restaurant: Chick-fil-A
Coffee Shop: Krispy Kreme (besting Starbucks for the first time)
Mexican Restaurant: Taco Bell (taking over from Moe's in last year's poll)
Pizza Chain: Blaze Pizza (LeBron James' venture)
Sandwich Shop: Panera and Subway tied (while MFI crowned Wawa the most beloved)