Selling 20th century-style greasy, salty, cheap fast food is a loser in the 21st century, per a recent nationwide survey of 70,000 customers. Customer preferences in 2015?
- Fast and casual food eateries that have eliminated artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives from their fare.
- Meats produced without antibiotics and synthetic hormones.
- Produce grown in a sustainable manner, so pesticides aren't necessary to grow crops.
- Food not dripping with grease, and often including freshest produce.
Think 21st-century corporations that equate healthier fare... for customers and for the environment... with healthier profits. Corporations with founders or management that act like they give a damn about community and world.
The losers in the 2015 American Customer Satisfaction Survey of fast and casual food corporations? From the bottom:
- McDonald's - Rock-bottom last (by a wide margin)
- Taco Bell - Tied for second-to-last
- Burger King - Tied for second-to-last
- Jack-in-the-Box - Tied for second-to-last
- KFC - One point from tying for second-to-last
Customer satisfaction winners in 2015? The top four are:
#1 - Chick-fil-A, which includes in its Environmental Stewardship and Social Responsibility website sections, company policies on recycling, water usage, energy efficiency, air quality, and waste, and states that "We know that how food is grown and sourced is of importance to customers. We are working to understand and take the right actions to ensure a sustainable and competitive menu in the future."
#2 - Chipotle Mexican Grill, a company dedicated to Food with Integrity, which means:
- "...vegetables grown in healthy soil, and pork from pigs allowed to freely root and roam outdoors or in deeply bedded barns."
- "There's no place for non-therapeutic antibiotics and synthetic hormones on the farms that produce our ingredients."
- "We serve more local produce than any restaurant company in the U.S. In 2014, we served over 20 million pounds of locally grown produce, and plan to increase our numbers every year."
- "We set minimum space requirements for the animals producing the meat and dairy products that end up in our restaurants. We work with our suppliers to ensure the highest possible animal welfare standards."
- Clean Ingredients - " We’re committed to sourcing and serving high-quality ingredients without artificial additives including added MSG, artificial trans fats, and ingredients we don’t believe need to be in your food."
- Transparent Menu - "We’re committed to transparency that empowers guests to choose how they want to eat."
- Positive Impact - "Panera is on a journey to ensure the highest possible animal welfare standards (including)... our reduction in use of antibiotics and confinement."
#4 - Papa John's Pizza, which promises "Better ingredients. Always had them. Always will." and specifically lists all ingredients on their website. Among company commitments:
- No trans fats
- No fillers in our meat toppings
- No cellulose
- No partially hydrogenated oils
Eating home-cooked meals made with freshest ingredients is far healthier than a steady diet of fast food, no matter what their corporate promises.
But we all eat out, and these days, we usually opt for convenience as well as taste.
Three cheers for 2015 fast-food aficionados, which includes... well, all of us, it seems. We're making better choices for our health and for our communities and world.
And finally,,, finally!... customer choices are sinking the cynical fortunes of those industrial corporate bastions of cheap 20th century-style greasy, salty, sugary fast food filled with chemicals, additives,preservatives, fillers and artificial flavors, colors and textures.
Power to the people!