This Chain Beat In-n-Out as America’s Favorite Burger Spot

It’s not a nationwide brand, but a recent survey proves these restaurants are worth traveling for.


Americans have no shortage of options when it comes to fast-food burgers. The Big Mac and the Whopper are staples, easily available in most cities across the country. Though Five Guys also sells hot dogs and sandwiches, it’s known almost exclusively for its burgers. These are the 15 oldest chain restaurants in the country.

Then there’s In-n-Out, long regarded as a country-wide favorite despite only having locations in seven states. Yet in the official race to claim the title of America’s Favorite Burger Chain, In-n-Out came in second.

In December 2018, Restaurant Business released a special report that broke down America’s favorite restaurant chains by service type (Quick Service, Fast Casual, Family Dining, and Casual Dining), by generation, and by menu type, including Mexican, Italian, chicken, seafood, and, of course, burgers. It gathered the data from the Technomic Ignite: Consumer program, an ongoing study that tracks restaurant chains’ performances by evaluating the responses of more than 100,000 consumers. Find out which two restaurants are among the most admired companies in the world.

The result? America’s favorite burger chain is Culver’s, the Midwest-based fast-casual restaurant chain best known for its ButterBurgers.

It was a close race. Culver’s overall score was 56.7 percent, and In-n-Out’s was 56.3 percent. However, Culver’s did have the higher marks when it came to Ambiance/Appearance, Food/Beverage, and Takeout/Convenience. The two categories in which In-n-Out came out on top were Value and Service/Hospitality (though only by 0.3 percent for the latter).

Like In-n-Out, Culver’s is not available nationwide. It has locations in 24 states, predominantly in the Midwest and Southeast with no locations in the Northeast. That can only prove one thing: Distance makes the heart—and stomach—grow fonder. Here are more of the most convenient restaurants in America, according to customers.