The other day I'm killing an afternoon by finishing up reading the entire internet when a new story pops up that catches my eye. Apparently Consumer Reports has run out of things to do, just like the rest of us, and decided to rate the worst fast food restaurants in America. This should be good I figure.
Much to my disappointment they actually polled people to get their results, like people know what they like. Everybody knows that if you're going to rate something, you either go test them yourself, or just wing it, like I usually do. And trust me, winging it is way easier.
My main issue with this report is that they lumped too many things together. I don't think Dunkin Donuts or Cinnabon should be on the same list with Dominos and Wendy's. For that matter I don't think pizza places should be listed with burger places either. In any case here is their list from passable to worst.
CONSUMER REPORTS WORST FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS
35 Arby’s 23 Dominos 11 Sonic Drive In
34 Popeye’s 22 Long john Silver 10 Auntie Anne’s
33 Boston Market 21 Taco John’s 09 Quiznos
32 Wienerschnitzel 20 KFC 08 Hardee’s
31 A & W 19 Cinnabon 07 Jimmy John’s
30 Dunkin Donuts 18 Del Taco 06 Sbarro
29 Dairy Queen 17 Einstein Bros. Bagels 05 Burger King
28 El Pollo Loco 16 White Castle 04 Carl’s Jr.
27 Taco Bell 15 Panda Express 03 Jack in the Box
26 Bojangles 14 Wendy’s 02 Cici’s Pizza
25 Subway 13 Little Caesar’s 01 McDonald’s
24 Krystal 12 Checkers
I am ashamed to say that I have been to all but two of these places. I've never been to CiCi's Pizza, that I can recall, nor have I entered the doors of Taco John's. I'm sure they are fine places to eat but I'll likely never know.
It is currently the thing to do to knock McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, and the other big chains. This is another reason that I'm leery of this list, too much political stuff involved in people's decision making. Another reason why you never want people to respond to a peoples poll. Leave the polling to the ad agencies.
So having established that the Consumer Reports list is not valid, I have taken the time to create my own list, based on my personal experiences having eaten in all but the two mentioned.
First, I have taken out the pizza places and created their own list. (From worst to meh)
4 - Sbarro - If you've ever flown, and been in an airport, you know how awful they are.
3 - Little Caesar's - Like eating cardboard with cheese.
2 - CiCi's - Never been but the commercials look awful.
1 - Domino's - A reflection of how bad national chains are when they finish first.
I also took out specialty places and created their own list. (See above)
5 - Auntie Anne's - Nothing says breakfast like cinnamon flavored pretzels.
4 - Dairy Queen - Ice cream is average but burgers are tasty.
3 - Einstein Bros. Bagels - Nice assortments and flavor is acceptable.
2 - Cinnabon - This would be number one except for the coffee at my choice.
1 - Dunkin Donuts - Best coffee on the planet and it's not even close.
So now here is my list of fast food places. These are listed from better to worse just like Consumer Reports.
IN MY OPINION WORST FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS
28 Wienerschnitzel 19 Hardee’s 10 El Pollo Loco
27 Jack in the Box 18 Jimmy John’s 09 Five Guy’s
26 KFC 17 Wendy’s 08 Bojangles
25 Panda Express 16 A & W 07 Boston Market
24 Arby’s 15 Taco Bell 06 In ‘n Out
23 Burger King 14 Del Taco 05 White Castle
22 Quiznos 13 Checkers 04 Subway
21 McDonald’s 12 Sonic Drive In 03 Krystal
20 Carl’s Jr. 11 Popeye’s 02 Taco John’s
01 Long John Silvers
I not only like many of the worst rated places on the CR list, but I find them comforting as well. They are familiar, like eating in mom's kitchen, with worse texture and flavor.
For those scoring at home, the second best cup of coffee you can get is at McDonald's. I say this as an avid drinker of my coffee black. I don't put all those crazy flavor things in mine. If you do, then you might as well drink mud because you aren't tasting the coffee anyway. I'll continue to spend $1 on my coffee while you spend $20 on yours.
For those friends and family in the greater Chicagoland area who are wondering about Wienerschnitzel, and why they are listed as my favorite. We don't have the neighborhood hot dog stands out here, so if you crave a chili dog, you need to go there. Compared to Chicago chili dogs, I would say second tier. Compared to anything else out here, top shelf. I think many of you would like them. They have recently, in the past two years, added Vienna hot dogs so it is almost like being back home.
I would stay away from anything listed from 9 - 1. As for the others, you won't die if you eat there. From the food. I can't speak for any other possibility of dying while there. I hope you enjoyed this process and maybe it made you hungry to go try one of them.