In-N-Out Wins Industry Magazine’s Award for Top Quick-Service Burger Chain

Greg Hernandez covers the restaurant industry for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-5989 and at

In-N-Out Burger was named the top quick-service burger chain, according to a restaurant industry publication’s annual survey.

It was the second time in three years that the Irvine-based chain has captured top honors in the Restaurants & Institutions survey, which interviewed more than 2,800 consumers last year. In-N-Out bested Wendy’s, a nine-time winner.

The survey, conducted by NFO Research Inc. in Greenwich, Conn., asked participants to evaluate restaurant chains on food quality, menu variety, value, service, atmosphere, cleanliness and convenience. A chain qualified for the survey if it was patronized once or more in the past 12 months by at least 5% of those surveyed.

In-N-Out got the most votes in five of seven categories. It ranked last out of 13 chains for menu variety, which is not surprising since its simple menu of burgers, fries and drinks has changed little in more than 50 years.


Two other Orange County chains placed second in their respective categories. Irvine-based Taco Bell finished behind Chi-Chi’s in a field of six nationally known Mexican food chains, placing first in the areas of value and convenience.

For the second consecutive year, Orange-based Marie Callender’s ranked second in the family dining segment, behind Cracker Barrel in a field of 14 chains.

Chicago-based Restaurants & Institutions magazine is a trade publication for the industry. Awards were given to the top two finishers in 14 dining segments, including steakhouses, seafood, sandwiches, pizza, cafeteria/buffet and chicken.