The dark truth behind America's most beloved fast-food chain

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Chick-Fil-A Just Won American Customer Satisfaction For The Second Time

Chicken sandwich, possible side of homophobia?

According to the 2016 American Customer Satisfaction Index Restaurant Report, Chick-fil-A, a company that has been riddled with public relations problems related to homophobia in the past, is the fast food chain that ranks highest in customer satisfaction, CNN Money reported Tuesday.

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The chain earned a whopping score of 87 out of 100, with Papa John's (seriously, America?) coming in second place with a score of 82. The survey noted customer satisfaction increased across the board since last year, CNN Money reported.

See America's top fast-food restaurants:

America's Top 10 fast food restaurants
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America's Top 10 fast food restaurants

10. Starbucks

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9. Little Caesars

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8. Domino's Pizza

(Photo: Elizabeth Hait)

7. Subway 

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6. Dunkin Donuts

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5. Pizza Hut

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4. Papa John's 

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3. Panera Bread

(Photo: JeepersMedia/Flickr)

2. Chipotle

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1. Chick-Fil-A

(Photo: Shutterstock)


This marks the second year Chick-fil-A has earned the top spot in ACSI's rankings. Last year was Chick-fil-A's debut year in the rankings, since it had a relatively small market share before then, Forrest Morgeson, director of research for ACSI, said in a phone interview.

"To see them up there at that high level is really quite unusual," Morgeson said, attributing Chick-fil-A's success to the fact that they have a selective menu that they execute well.

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"It doesn't try to be everything for everybody," he said. In comparison, Morgeson noted McDonald's has tried everything (ribs, fish sandwiches, kale salads, green burgers — you name it) to woo customers. Mickey D's received a score of 69.

Despite the glowing satisfaction ratings, Chick-fil-A has a not-so-harmonious relationship with LGBTQ communities. Current president and CEO Dan Cathy made a series of comments condemning same-sex marriage on a national talk show in 2012, when he was the company's COO.

Cathy and his father, the founder of Chick-fil-A, align with Christian values, which explains why the locations do not open on Sundays. Cathy has since expressed regret that the chain became linked with the debate around same-sex marriage, Time reported in 2014, citing the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Chik-fil-A employees recently made an exception and opened on a Sunday to provide free food for people in Orlando, Florida, who were waiting in line to donate blood after the shooting at gay nightclub Pulse.

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Since 2012, the chain has tried to strip its anti-gay reputation. It states it does not discriminate against customers or employees based on sexual orientation.

Was the support given in Orlando motivated by sympathy for the LGBTQ communities or a more general sympathy for a mass shooting? It's unclear if or when the company will publicly support Pride Month or same-sex marriage.

In 2014, Burger King debuted a Proud Whopper during Pride Month. In the 2016 satisfaction rankings, the "Home of the Whopper" scored a measly 76, a whole 11 points behind Chick-fil-A, CNN Money reported.

When it comes to fast food, does taste trump politics?

At least one Twitter user seems to think so. @AG_Conservative tweeted in July 2014: "I don't care about Burger King or Chick-Fil-A's views on gay marriages. I do care about how their food tastes. Chick-Fil-A > Burger King."

In a country that's earned the nickname "Fast Food Nation," maybe this shouldn't come as such a surprise.

The Dark Truth Behind America's Most Beloved Fast Food Chain
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