In-N-Out is still the king. According to Nation's Restaurant News, the California-based chain topped the list of 111 "limited-service" restaurants (read: fast food places) in NRN's Consumer Picks 2015. The report, which analyzes 42,000 different customer ratings, ranked 172 restaurant brands, 111 of which were put in the "limited-service" category.
Fast food restaurants have struggled to keep their customers' business, according to the report, suffering a three-percent drop in visits in 2014, or nearly 370 million lost visits. In-N-Out, however, has bucked the trend, maintaining its follow and engendering goodwill with not only regular customers, but celebrity chefs and personalities like Thomas Keller and Anthony Bourdain.
The chain, founded in 1948 in Baldwin Park, Calif., has kept its menu small, focusing only on burgers while most fast food burger establishments have spread their tendrils into chicken, salads, and designer coffee drinks. "The key to their success has been a strong focus on their menu and daypart," Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Chicago-based Technomic Inc., told NRM. "Since the 1940s, they have focused on burgers and French fries for lunch and dinner, while other burger brands have offered breakfast, chicken and salads."
What was the top-ranked overall restaurant brand? Famous Dave's, a Minnesota-based barbecue chain founded in 1994.