In-N-Out Overtaken By Southern Baptist Eatery As Favorite Fast Food Restaurant in America

The debate has raged on for years as to which burger chain in America has been the most popular, with California-based In-N-Out or Texas-based Whataburger usually among the top two in that conversation. In-N-Out had been the favorite overall fast food restaurant chain in America until a new poll came out, and a chicken joint in Georgia took the top spot.

Chick-fil-A, based in Atlanta, took over as the favorite fast food in the country, according to a survey by Market Force, which polls more than 7,600 customers and evaluates their satisfaction by using metrics through categories to score percentage points.

The chicken chain from Georgia received a 79 percent composite loyalty index to take the top spot, while In-N-Out received a 73 percent loyalty composite. The categories chosen to compile the index include: food quality, speed of service, dollar value, healthy eating options, overall cleanliness, staff friendliness, curb appeal and atmosphere.

Chick-fil-A earned an 82 percent score in both staff friendliness and overall cleanliness, tops among the highest-ranked stores.

Chick-fil-A, In-N-Out and Chipotle were voted the favorite fast food restaurants in chicken, burgers and Mexican, respectively.

Ironically, In-N-Out was surpassed by yet another Southern chicken restaurant in the rankings. Louisiana-based Raising Cane's had an overall 78 percent loyalty satisfaction composite, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Chick-fil-A, which has more than 2,400 stores nationwide, is never open on Sundays so employees can have "one day to rest and worship if they choose." Staying closed on Sundays costs Chick-fil-A more than $1 billion in annual sales, according to the USA Today. The company, which began in 1946, still brings in more than $10 billion in annual sales.

The company's stance of Christian values has brought them unwanted attention over the last year, especially with their attempt to place their restaurants in airports from Texas to New York.

Dan Cathy, the Chick-fil-A president and COO, said in 2012 that marriage should be "between a man and a woman," which ignited nationwide protests.

"I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,'" Cathy said. "I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about."

The remarks brought about protests from LGBTQ rights activists around the country, vowing to protest the chicken restaurant. But when it comes to customers, Chick-fil-A won out on favoritism by a survey.

McDonald's finished dead last among the 14 burger restaurants listed, but the worldwide chain still outpaces every other restaurant in yearly sales.

In-N-Out Burger
Drivers wait in the drive-thru line at an In-N-Out Burger restaurant in Alhambra, California, on August 30, 2018. - California's Democratic Party Chairman, Eric Bauman, is calling for a boycott of the Irvine, CA based fast food chain after it donated $25,000 to help California Republicans in November. In addition to this week's donation, In-N-Out donated $30,000 to the GOP in 2017 and 2016. Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images