Photo: Dave77459, Flickr
It's a tragicomic lament that hovers like a cartoon thought-bubble over the heads of many fast-food burger eaters these days: Why, oh why, does the Big Mac in my hand look almost nothing like the one pictured in the McDonald's ad?
If any conclusion can be drawn from a new Consumer Reports survey, it may be that customers are getting fed up with chains that tantalize with mouth-watering pictures of plump, juicy burgers perfectly trimmed with all the fixings only to deliver a pallid simulacrum in reality -- sad, gray little patties topped with a loveless smear of ketchup and sandwiched between two tasteless buns.
Because when you look at who fared worst in the survey of more than 28,000 Consumer Reports subscribers on their fast-food burger preferences, they seem to have one thing in common (other than, apparently, terrible burgers): outsized advertising budgets.
Consumer Reports asked participants to rate the burgers at 18 different chains on a classic 1-to-10 scale. With a miserable average score of 6.3, Burger King and Jack in the Box both tied, vying for second-to-last place. (Maybe that's a sign that Jack in the Box needs to pick a "CEO"/spokesman that doesn't have an oversized ping-pong ball for a head.)
And who ended up in last place? McDonald's. Guess it's safe to say that the folks at Consumer Reports, at least, aren't "lovin' it." "More greasy than beefy," is how they described the burgers at America's top-selling fast-food chain, going on to describe the bun as "airy and bland."
If you're looking for more proof of the apparently inverse relationship between the amount of money a chain spends trying to convince people that their burgers are good and actually serving up a good burger, then look no further than the survey's top three.
Fuddruckers came in second with an average score of 7.7, while Five Guys Burgers and Fries and In-N-Out tied for the top spot with an average score of 7.9.
The paradox, of course, is that McDonald's is serving more 5.3-rated burgers than ever, as the company (no doubt smugly) points out.
As a company rep told Crain's Chicago Business, "Today, we are serving more customer than we ever have," she said. "This is evident by our very positive business results."
|Burger King||7931 (13.9%)|
|Five Guys Burgers||11510 (20.2%)|
|Jack in the Box||754 (1.3%)|
|Carl's Jr.||2353 (4.1%)|
|Sonic Drive-in||3424 (6.0%)|