Zagat’s annual compendium of the best and worst in fast food dining has been released and, not surprisingly, Wendy’s took home the overall top spot among “mega chains” (more than 5,000 locations) and Chick-fil-A was number one among “large chains” (under 5,000 locations). Wendy’s also took home the coveted “Best Food” honor in its category, while In-N-Out Burger’s grub tested best among large chains.
Zagat’s “National Fast Food Restaurant Survey” is based on input from more than 6,000 diners and included some food specific categories, like “Best Burger” (Five Guys), “Best French Fries” (McDonald’s), “Best Breakfast Sandwiches” (McDonald’s) and “Best Salads” (Panera Bread).
Not satisfied with these predictable awards, we came up with a few of our own:
Best Restroom Signage – Jimmy John’s
This up-and-coming sandwich shop, which ranked fourth in service among large chains in the Zagat poll, takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to bathroom etiquette by posting signs like the one on the right in each of the restaurant’s 200 or so locations. Internet chatter is mixed on the translation of the German phrase and bizarre illustration. Most agree that it’s a half-joking request for males to sit while they urinate, although Google Translate offers “Please sit in pee” as the sign’s true meaning.
Best Use of Social Media – Jack in the Box
Last October, the Jack in the Box mascot – only slightly less creepy than BK’s King – appeared on the restaurant’s Facebook page with a unique promotion. For every person who “likes” the restaurant on Facebook, Jack will add a nickel to a money jar (displayed and updated in real time on the company’s page). At the end of month long promotion, one Facebook fan was awarded the contents of the jar, which totaled more than $11,000. Who says money can’t buy friends?
Best Excuse to Sell a $5 Burger – Burger King’s “California Whopper”
A lot of restaurants offer a $5-plus burger – the Hardee’s Six Dollar Thickburger among them – but as we emerge from a penny-pinching recession, none are more worth the price than Burger King’s recently unveiled California Whopper. The “grilled and guac’d” twist on BK’s signature sandwich is “topped with ripe tomatoes, crisp lettuce, guacamole, crispy bacon, melted Swiss cheese, creamy mayo and onions all on a toasted sesame seed bun.” You had us at guacamole.
Those are just a few fast food developments we felt were worth recognizing. If anyone has any other award categories in mind, or knows any fast food marketing efforts that deserve a mention, let us know with a comment.