The moment you’ve been waiting a year for: this years rankings are finalized. As we examine back over previous lists, the rankings are gradually stabilizing, which is a good sign that the committee (me) is finally developing some consistency, at least in my own head.
The biggest change has to be the addition of Pizza Hut. This is still a questionable matter whether we should consider them fast food, but after wavering back and forth, it’s just impossible to ignore the impact Pizza Hut, as well as the collective pizza industry has, even if only indirectly, on the fast food world. So they’ve made the cut, at least for this year. And when dealing with a power like Pizza Hut, they don’t exactly sneak in at the back of the pack. I can’t anticipate as substantial a shake-up as Pizza Hut’s addition, unless, say, Starbucks at some point became eligible for fast food consideration.
The biggest rising stock this year, besides Pizza Hut, is Burger King, who has made a 10 point jump in the rankings from 2 years prior, when the whole franchise was in disarray. The biggest falling stocks are Nathan’s Famous, who was the only restaurant bumped from the list of last year, and also Sonic, who fell 4 places.
A quick reminder of the format: a tiebreaker in overall points is decided by comparing reputation, or clout of the restaurant. If that is tied, then tiebreaker goes to taste comparison, and then value. + variation means a higher number ranking from last year (not a good thing) while a – indicates spots the restaurant has moved towards #1 (that’s good). Check here for a full explanation of the format.
Look at the slide show for #20-16
#20 – 16, #15 – 11, #10 – 6, #5 – 1
Check out the full list 2012
#20 Carl’s Jr. (+ 1)
The two biggest obstacles standing in the way of real influence are the appalling health statistics, and the restaurants unwavering marketing strategy which rests heavy on celebrities of sex appeal, thus drawing on a limited demographic.
#19 Arby’s (– 1)
A menu that has become one of the priciest in the industry, combined with the lack of appetite for fast food lunch meat, with the lingering stigma of a hillbilly refuge equals a tough mountain to climb.
# 18 DQ (+ 1)
It’s hard for DQ to evolve into the big time when they just don’t offer food at many locations. Some locations shut down over the winter. It’s labeled a dessert place, which caps the growth potential
#17 Whitecastle + 3
Whitecastle will never lose its devoted cult following, but they also have revealed lackluster growth and innovation, a sure recipe for stagnation. They have yet to expand westward, past the Texas line, and don’t seem interested in drawing new customers.
Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box – 0
The numbers say it all. Jack in the Box isn’t bad, just a thoroughly average burger franchise. And in the world of Burger Big 3 (BK, Wendy’s, McDonald’s), average won’t cut it.