Fast Food (Quick Service) Restaurants

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Canstar Blue’s fast food restaurants review has seen Subway, Grill’d, Nando’s, Oporto, Guzman y Gomez, Red Rooster, KFC, Hungry Jack’s and McDonald’s compared on taste and quality, customer service, speediness, variety, value for money and overall satisfaction.

See our Ratings Methodology.

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Most Satisfied Customers | Subway

Aussies gave Subway the thumbs up as the best-rated fast food restaurant in Canstar Blue’s review. Subway scored five stars for value for money, overall satisfaction and the majority of categories.

Subway rated freshest in fast food restaurant ratings

Not in the mood to cook tonight? In a rush to grab lunch? Or perhaps you’re on the hunt for some Netflix snacks to chill with the homies? Whatever your situation, fast food restaurants provide the convenience of quick, delicious and easy meals, without the long wait and shebang of traditional eateries. But with so many options out there, how do we know which fast food joints offer the best combo of taste, quality and speediness?

To find out, we asked over 2,000 Aussies for their feedback on their experiences with the fast food chains and quick service restaurants they’ve purchased and consumed food from in the last month. Survey respondents were asked to compare and rate restaurants on important factors such as the taste and quality of their ingredients, customer service, speed of food preparation, variety of food choices, value for money and overall satisfaction. Those which met the minimum required survey sample size of 30 responses are included in our ratings.

So, which fast food chains were rated hot and which got grilled? Subway served up the best score in our ratings, as the only entry to achieve five stars for overall satisfaction and in all but one category.

Best Fast Food Restaurants

subway sandwich rated best fast food

Here are the best fast food restaurants in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s 2020 review:

  1. Subway
  2. Grill’d
  3. Nando’s
  4. Oporto
  5. Guzman y Gomez
  6. Red Rooster
  7. KFC
  8. Hungry Jack’s
  9. McDonald’s

Subway plated full marks for customer service, speed of food preparation, variety of food choices, value for money and overall satisfaction, and got four stars for taste and quality of ingredients.

Runner up Grill’d and Nando’s got one up on our ratings winner with a five-star result for taste and quality of ingredients. Additionally, Grill’d got top marks for service but finished on four stars overall, even after receiving only three stars for value for money and speediness. Nando’s also landed on four stars overall, despite scoring three stars for variety and speed of food preparation.

Four restaurants, Oporto, Guzman y Gomez, Grill’d and Nando’s, finished on four stars overall. The remaining joints, Red Rooster, KFC, Hungry Jack’s and McDonald’s, landed on three stars overall.

About the Winner – Subway

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Looking to eat and feel good? Subway’s got you covered. The restaurant’s slogan ‘Eat Fresh’ is based on its unique selling point­, that its sandwiches are made with freshly-baked bread in house and fresh ingredients, in front of customers to their exact specifications by what the company calls ‘Subway sandwich artists’. Subway also offers gourmet salads, breakfast rolls, wraps and paninis, as well as tasty sides like garlic bread and of course its famous cookies! Here are some of our top picks from the Subway menu:

  • The Meatball Sub: A sandwich made with freshly-baked bread and juicy meatballs smothered in Marinara sauce and topped with cheese, as well as salads and condiments of your choice.
  • The Chicken & Bacon Ranch Melt: A wrap stuffed with tender chicken strips, bacon and melted cheese and topped with ranch dressing and anything else you want to add.
  • Buffalo Chicken Salad: A fresh salad with marinated spicy buffalo chicken breast strips, tangy blue cheese dressing and all your favourite toppings.
  • Mediterranean Veg Panini: A crispy ciabatta loaded with sundried tomatoes, crumbled toasted feta, mozzarella, spinach, capsicum and red onion and topped off with creamy pesto mayo.

How Aussies consume fast food

Besides being fast and easy, quick service restaurants are also more affordable than established eateries. In fact, a fifth of our survey respondents (20%) find it more affordable to feed their family from fast food restaurants and a similar amount even have an app for a fast food restaurant. One in 10 Aussies also admitted to having a membership or loyalty card with a quick service restaurant.

Our results also revealed that over half of Aussies (53%) chose to buy fast food in store, while 40% opt for the convenience of the drive through and 5% get their food delivered by third-party delivery services like Uber Eats, for example.

Here are more interesting facts from our survey:

Which fast food restaurant should I choose?

This will depend largely on what you’re in the mood for, if you’re eating alone or not, and of course your budget. If you’re taking the brood out for a meal, for example, then you’ll want to pick a joint that offers copious meal deals to feed your hungry mouths and bonus points if you can find a place with a play area for the kids. According to our survey, that’s a key factor for families when deciding where to eat. If in doubt, Macca’s and KFC are always little people pleasers!

Otherwise, if you’re grabbing a bite to eat with your significant other or friends, then you could go for a place that serves both a little ambiance and booze like Grill’d, Nando’s or Guzman y Gomez.

Most quick service restaurants update their menu with healthy options regularly and cater for different dietary requirements, so you can easily satisfy your cravings anywhere.

Taste and quality of food is of course also important. In fact, it’s the biggest driver of satisfaction for consumers, ahead of customer service and value, according to our survey. Both Grill’d and Nando’s scored highest in that aspect, although taste and quality can vary depending on seasonality, product availability, store location and other external factors.

About the author of this page

Megan Birot

This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Home & Lifestyle Content Lead, Megan Birot. She’s an expert on household appliances, health & beauty products, as well as all things grocery and shopping. When she’s not writing up our research-based ratings reports, Megan spends her time helping consumers make better purchase decisions, whether it’s at the supermarket, other retailers, or online, highlighting the best deals and flagging anything you need to be aware of.

Restaurant Meal Delivery Services

Picture credits: Prachana Thong-on/ Shutterstock.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

Canstar Blue surveyed more than 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and consumed food from a quick service or fast food restaurant (excluding pizza), in the last month– in this case, 2,231 people.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

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