The only thing better than getting a delicious, well-portioned takeout meal is getting it for a good price. But buying from any restaurant can be a balance between cost and quality. Customers may be forced to compromise on quality when eating out on a budget, while those who prioritize quality may face high prices.
And when it comes to some restaurant chains, customers feel like they’re not getting the meal value they deserve for the prices they pay, according to new research from the wealth management firm. and investment bank Stifel. The study looked at 13 fast-casual restaurant chains in different categories, from burger restaurants like Wendy’s and McDonald’s to Mexican-inspired brands like Taco Bell and Chipotle.
By examining the cost of a popular meal from each of the 13 chains in 20 different cities, the study was able to determine the average price customers are likely to pay at these restaurants today. He also asked customers about which restaurants they think have become too expensive for what they offer, assigning a rating based on their responses.
Read on to find out which five chains have received the highest dissatisfaction ratings and offer the worst value for money, according to customers.
Chick-fil-A was among the top five customer chains deemed “too expensive”. And that despite its relatively low average price of $8.74, as identified by the study. It seems customers don’t like paying too much for those delicious chicken sandwiches!
Although it advertises itself as providing “clean, tasty food”, some customers in the study seemed disappointed with how Panera’s meals compared to its costs. The chain, known for its baked goods, soups, salads and sandwiches, was another that scored high on the “overpriced” metric. And it’s easy to see why: at $14.76, Panera had the second-highest average meal price of any chain surveyed. The only chain more expensive than Panera was Five Guys, which had an average price of $16.33. (However, Five Guys was not included in the customer survey and therefore received no rating.)
For those who have never been to a MOD pizza, imagine yourself at Chipotle, but replace the burritos with pizza. The good thing about this chain is that it offers highly customizable pies and can bake them extremely quickly for those who might otherwise be stuck waiting for delivery.
But the study indicated that customers do not enough feel they get what they pay for when they stop at MOD Pizza. The brand had the third highest “overpriced” rating of the bunch, despite being relatively low in terms of an average meal cost of $12.68.
Pizza Blaze uses the same build your own pizza business model as MOD, so it’s no surprise that both ended up on the “not worth it” list. Blaze Pizza received the second highest dissatisfaction rating on the value for money scale.
Blaze Pizza’s higher dissatisfaction rate may be related to the fact that it is one of the more expensive chains, with an average cost of $13.72 per meal.
Shake Shack’s top spot on this list is somewhat at odds with its price. It is the average meal price of $13.50 was lower than the prices of Panera Bread, Chipotle, and Blaze Pizza, but still managed to top them all in this study with a very high rating on the “overpriced” scale “.
The Stifel report indicates that Shake Shack, Chick-fil-A and MOD Pizza are among the brands that received a higher than expected proportion of “overpriced” responses. On the other hand, brands that received lower than expected dissatisfaction rates relative to their average prices include Chipotle, Jersey Mike’s and Panera Bread, according to the study.
Zoe Strozewski is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Learn more about Zoe
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