It’s been a rough stretch for the accuracy of polling data, but for once, a result seems to line up with reality, as a recent survey named Five Guys the best burger chain in the country.
(This post does not represent the editorial opinion of The Comeback as a whole; our Slack was greatly divided on this issue, but I’m writing the article, so it’s a bit of a last word situation.)
The survey in question was the annual EquiTrend study from The Harris Poll, and as Business Insider notes, the criteria in question include rating brands on quality, familiarity, and likelihood of purchasing their products. This is the first time Five Guys has been named best burger chain by this particular metric.
Here’s the top 10:
Now, this entire poll is obviously awash with brand-speak, which is unfortunate, but hey, the result speaks for itself. Five Guys is awesome, and is fully deserving of the title. In-n-Out fell to the #2 slot, which is going to make a ton of people mad, but let’s just say it: Five Guys is better.
That’s not to say there aren’t virtues; In-n-Out is cheaper, and locations offering late-night hours are obviously welcome. But it’s only available in certain parts of the country, and that doesn’t include my part of the country. (I’ve tried it on multiple occasions, though, people, don’t @ me.) But Five Guys is only slightly more expensive, generally offers more food of a higher quality, and can be found all over the country (and internationally, even.)
Plus they gave me a free drink and extra fries on my birthday in March when my girlfriend told them it was my birthday against my wishes:
— Jay Rigdon (@jayrigdon5) May 16, 2017
And that’s the kind of thing that has always set it apart, for me; the employees just generally seem to have fun there. It’s almost always a pleasant experience, and the few times there’s been a mistake in an order or something like that they’ve been immediately accommodating. They deserve to be #1.
And now, a few thoughts on the rest of the top 10:
- Shake Shack is the most overrated establishment in the country. It’s expensive, with small portions, mediocre taste, and a very small footprint. I’ve been twice, and for my money, I’d much rather go to Culver’s, which is essentially the same food but available all over and at a much lower price point. (Yeah, yeah, better ingredients, etc. You’re still eating a burger and fries, none of it is good for you.)
- Steak & Shake is essentially a discount Culver’s, but I’d still rather go there than Shake Shack. Though the fries aren’t my style, some people do prefer them.
- I’ve not tried Whataburger; I almost did at an airport in Dallas this spring, but was enticed by Moe’s instead. It’s nice to know there’s still something out there, though, to be honest.
- Smashburger is fine, and there were plenty in Denver when I lived there, but they tried to trick things up a bit more than I like. There was a Smashburger blocks from my apartment, (as well as a larkburger location, a Colorado chain) but I used to take the light rail 30 minutes out of town to get Five Guys instead.
- The below-average list is about right, although McDonald’s and Sonic being in the top 10 makes me question a bit of the poll. (Not to the point of discounting it, especially because I like the result up top, but still.) Wendy’s is probably the best purely fast food burger, though, so it’s deserving.
- I was surprised a place like Red Robin wasn’t mentioned at all; that also received a vote in our informal Slack poll. Plus I like steak fries.
So, to sum up: Five Guys is the best, and deserving of the title. In-n-Out is fine, and there’s room for both of them.
Shake Shack is horribly overrated.