A new study by the American Satisfaction Survey Index (ACSI), conducted between April 2021 and March 2022, has found that customers strongly prefer full-service restaurants (FSR’s) to quick-service restaurants (QSR’s).

This comes as good news after the beating FSR’s took in the beginning of the lockdowns. They were the worst hit because their business models were the least prepared to handle pick-up and delivery. They were also behind FSR’s in the use of digital platforms such as apps and user-friendly websites. But they adapted, and the many that closed for good were outnumbered by the many that survived.

Fast-forward to today and you can see how much has changed. Independent restaurants have adopted new technologies to help with staffing issues and customer interaction. They’ve built relationships with third-party delivery services, while some have built general stores inside that sell eggs, milk, and bread. But the real winners are the national chain restaurants. They were more easily able to adapt by building better apps and digital platforms. Nevertheless, both types of restaurants came out on top of their faster service cousins.

FSR’s beat out QSR’s in every important metric of ACSI’s study. The metrics used were order accuracy, food quality, courtesy of staff, layout and cleanliness, and speed of order. In every one, customers had higher opinions of FSR’s than QSR’s. In only one area are QSR’s ahead, and that is in their apps. Though customers find FSR mobile apps more reliable, they pale in comparison to the quality of QSR mobile apps.

The study also covers two other points of note. First, is that the top spot for individual chain restaurants went to two steakhouses, Longhorn Steakhouse and Texas Roadhouse, both scoring an 80 out of 100.

The second item of note is the fact that Chick-fil-A beat everyone with a score of 83. That’s ALL restaurants. It’s the eighth straight year that the brand has done so. Chick-fil-A is quickly becoming a force that is capable of taking on the Golden Arches, which only scored a 68 and fell to last place. Looks like there’s a new “gotta have it” in town, and it doesn’t involve a scary clown.

To perform this study, ACSI drew upon 20,143 customers, chosen at random through email.