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Sometimes it’s easy to predict survey outcomes ... but not always.

A recent survey exploring Americans’ favorites among “limited-service” and “full-service” restaurants reveals that Papa Murphy’s Take N’ Bake Pizza, In-N-Out Burger, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Bonefish Grill are among the chains that are cooking the competition.

The inaugural Consumer Picks survey, conducted by WD Partners and published by

Nation’s Restaurant News

, canvassed more than 5,000 customers. Survey participants were asked to evaluate brands they have visited at least once in the past six months in an effort to determine the brand’s strengths and weaknesses relative to competitors. They then rated the restaurant brands in nine areas, including food quality, value and cleanliness.

The findings not only reveal which restaurants are winning the favor of consumers, they also point to the importance of differentiation, staying true to a concept’s core philosophies and delivering the promised experience.

The Consumer Picks survey, which ranked 139 restaurant brands, is reported to be the first of its kind to examine several emerging brands, including Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Pei Wei Asian Diner, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Bonefish Grill, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse and Cheddar’s Casual Café.

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