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Published: Tuesday, 8/16/2011

White Castle Sliders rate with consumers

Square burgers top famous rivals in poll

BY TRACY TURNER
COLUMBUS DISPATCH

COLUMBUS -- Consumers like White Castle's square burgers better than the nation's top-selling hamburgers, according to a new survey from Consumer Reports.

Although White Castle didn't finish first on that list -- In-N-Out Burger did -- the Columbus-based chain was preferred in a survey of 36,733 consumers over the burgers at Wendy's, Burger King, and McDonald's.

White Castle came in at No. 8. Wendy's, based in Dublin, Ohio, a Columbus suburb, was ranked 14th overall on the survey, with the other two farther down the list.

But Wendy's did score a top ranking by Consumer Reports editors for its sea-salt fries, which the company introduced nationwide in November. The fries are skin-on russet potatoes.

The survey, which appears in the August issue of the magazine, is based on consumers who made more than 98,000 visits to 53 fast-food chains from April, 2009, to June, 2010, said Tod Marks, a senior projects editor.

Overall scores in the survey were based on food quality, value, staff, and speed of service. The survey found that consumers want not only good food, but also a better experience and more value, he said.

"Fifty-four percent of our subscribers cited low prices as a reason for picking a particular fast-food restaurant," Mr. Marks said.

For the maker of the Slider, it is "impressive to see White Castle ranked higher than some of the much larger quick-service restaurants," said Jamie Richardson, a vice president of the company.

"We feel honored that our customers think so highly of our food and find our menu a good value for the entire family."

The magazine also ranked fast-food chains by segment, with Chipotle Mexican Grill getting top honors in the Mexican food category.

Chick-fil-A earned a top ranking in the chicken category, Jason's Deli was tops in the sandwiches and subs category, and Papa Murphy's Take 'N' Bake Pizza was deemed best in the pizza category, Consumer Reports said.



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