Food & Nutrition

These Are the Cleanest Fast-Food Restaurants in America

A recent Restaurant Business survey revealed the cleanest fast-foods in the country. Did your favorite make the cut?

Blurred image a compact fast food restaurant in USA.Trong Nguyen/Shutterstock

It’s not the trendiest topic in the food world, but we can agree that cleanliness is crucial to enjoying a meal out on the town. Lucky for us, Restaurant Business conducted a survey to determine the cleanest restaurants in the United States.

How the rankings work

The survey took into account overall interior cleanliness, including tabletops and floors, as well as serveware like trays and silverware. They also polled consumers about the perceived cleanliness of the kitchen and food prep areas—presumably, if the condiment station is a sticky mess, the kitchen may be in a similar state. Lastly, they checked for restroom cleanliness (yep, they went there!). Restaurant owners wish you knew these secrets.

Ready for the results?

Drum roll, please…

First place

Chick-fil-A won a blue ribbon for being the cleanest fast-food restaurant in America. While the chain came neck-in-neck with the second-place restaurant for interior cleanness (at 68.6 percent), it jumped ahead thanks to higher marks for food prep and kitchen sparkle (66.5 percent). Good news for everyone who loves a good crispy chicken sandwich.

The win is perhaps unsurprising, given that Chick-fil-A has been America’s favorite restaurant for three years in a row. On top of being squeaky-clean, Chick-fil-A wins points for using fresh, never frozen, chicken, and for their amazing secret menu. (Psst: It’s not so secret anymore!)

Second place

If your fast food cravings veer toward the sweet end of the spectrum, we’ve got good news: Culver’s scored a very near second place, scoring 67.1 percent overall. The beloved custard and butter burger slingers scored big on overall interior cleanliness, plus super-clean bathrooms. Here’s why Culver also beat In-N-Out for the best burger spot in America.

Honorable Mentions

In third place came Firehouse Subs, with a 65.8 percent rating. Newk’s Eatery and its amazing condiments got a respectable fourth place (64.9 percent), and Papa Murphy’s Pizza came in fifth (63 percent). If you absolutely love fast food but are looking for a healthier option, learn which fast-food menu items nutritionists always avoid ordering.

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