Most of you know that fast food can be a vast wasteland of mediocre food, impertinent service and questionable product quality. However, there are some shining exceptions to the rule as show by this survey.
Interestingly the top burger chain is a small one with all in the American West, and a very limited ad budget. So big is not necessarily better, as this survey shows.
So, think now about hotels--their size, their ad budgets and wonder, as I do, if there's a teaching moment here: Can a big lodging company reinvent itself to go back to first principles, to not stray from a founder's dream (In'N'Out Burger's menu is virtually unchanged since 1947 for example), and to regain the trust of the traveling public? I guess that question is yet to be answered.
I can't really speak to the implications for hospitality corporations, but I found the article and survey interesting. A couple of points caught my attention:
"...findings reveal marked differences in customer satisfaction for several QSR burger brands between lunch and dinner dining... Krystal [a longtime Southern staple] dropped from ranking seventh during lunch to fifteenth at dinner."
I'd bet it would rank near the top at 3:00 am.
The huge-volume chains all ranked near the bottom. I concur with that assessment. I stopped at my first Wendy's in probably a decade and a half on a recent trip. Founder Dave Thomas has to spinning in his grave. Thanks for sharing.
I will vote with Husker.... McDonalds.
By the way, unless Texas is now considered the American West, In and Out has moved beyond their western roots. I believe there are 4 locations in Dallas, been to 2 of them personally.
I think in and out, along with 5 guys is over-rated. cult following not withstanding, nothing special... my opinion.
Now Whataburger is great!
McDonalds long ago dropped from my radar. being uniformly dirty, surly and selling questionable products. It began as a great idea and soon became a fast food disaster, in my humble and obviously humble opinion. Five Guys is five times greasier than the average burger. In and Out has indeed ventured into alien (Texas) territory, having built a Texas commissary to handle fresh only beef and potato deliveries to the new stores. Only fresh unlike Mickey Dee's when fresh is missing from the Menu. INOB also has fantastic tee shirts for sale, a new one every Thanksgiving. Plus you get biblical verses on every INOB paper product.
In-N-Out while I love them doesn't stand a chance in the Texas market. They had fairly aggressive plans for expansion within the state yet only have opened four or five as shoeman1000 mentions. Whataburger the little Corpus Christi start up some 55 years ago will flat out kill In-N-Out in this area and Five Guys is overrated in my opinion as well.
I'm with buckwheat, the back yard burgers whether beef or turkey are far and away the best burgers!
Backyard burgers, hot off the grill are the best. In-N-Out is the only fast food dining I permit myself anymore, usually about twice/year on a road trip. Just had a burger en route to San Ysidro this month, and one on the way to SF last month, so I'm done for the year. Fuddrucker's puts a smile on my son-in-laws face and that works for me.
my dad loves Mc D's senior coffee.
I just plain like hamburgers! And for a cooked (very well done of course) to order burger, I find the Marriott burger hard to beat. I had one recently at the Marriott suites near Dulles and it ranked among the best! But I also like Fuddruckers and its predecessor Flaky Jakes, and What a burger.
We love Fuddrucker's and if we are in the vicinity of one at mealtime, try to plan to eat a meal there. I don't eat eat beef hamburgers, but really enjoy turkey burgers at Fudrucker's. We especially enjoy finding new locations in places where we travel. We recently tried the restaurant at the Boston airport. The burgers were great, but they were out of fries, much to my husband's dismay! We also eat at the location near the Houston airport when we are flying from Houston (IAH). I believe there is also one located in the airport. There is a location in the casino in New Orleans, but we find the limited seating is too smoky to enjoy our burgers, so we usually take our meal to the riverfront and watch the ships, etc. We enjoy the Fuddrucker's in Shreveport at the Boardwalk, the same complex where the Courtyard is located. We've also eaten at the one on International Drive in Orlando. Makes me want to go on a trip........
You are correct, Fuddrucker's at IAH is in the Terminal A food court. Thanks for the turkey burger information as that is our preferred burger and it's nice to know they have them now days.
To address your question, I do think the answer is "Yes"!
Here in the Mid West, we have a small chain of hotels that is "Under the radar", but always busy and very nice, "Stoney Creek Inn"! They sort of remind me of an upscale Ho-Jo, with the vaulted ceilings, decades ago. They are rustic and fun. No big ad budgets, just word of mouth, and real quality!
They get my business, when there are no Marriott properties in the same town.
Sorry, anadyr, I didn't mean to hijack the thread and turn it into a "Who's got the best burger?" (although I think it's been interesting.) My recent Wendy's experience gets back to your original post, though. Time was, you'd order a single, double, or triple burger at Wendy's, along with what you wanted on it, then watch it built with patties that came off the flame-grilled conveyor thingy. The unappetizing, pre-made burgers we saw being served to those in line in front of us made us go for a baked potato w/ sour cream and chives (me) and a salad (the Lady Foxglove). I mean, how can they mess those up? My pre-baked potato, which was just slightly larger than a golf ball, was tossed in a microwave for a few seconds and served with a squirt packet of "sour cream" and a bag of dehydrated chives. (Assemble your own potato.) TLF's salad was a shrink-wrapped handful of iceberg lettuce leaves in a paper tray and a squirt packet of seasoned oil and vinegar. So Wendy's is officially off the list of preferred vendors.
I've been a Marriott Rewards member for a decade, and we've stayed at many different properties all over the country. We've been fortunate in that we've always gotten the service we expected: a clean, comfortable room, a friendly staff, and when applicable, a tasty breakfast. (Maybe low expectations are the way to go) But if it ever gets to the point that those expectations are no longer met, we'll make other arrangements--or go back to camping, as we did for our first 20 years.
Although I'm not a vegetarian, my daughter is. Believe it or not, the best vegetarian burger I have ever had was in the Amtrak diner on long distance trains. I order it for lunch at least once per trip. Their corn beef hash (when available) is also great and homemade.
I like In and Out better than any national chain, and go to the one near Canyon Villas in Phoenix whenever I am there. I also prefer to make my own. Our local butcher shop and Costco have great ground sirloin or chuck. A good burger is better than an average steak, especially with a glass of cabernet.
Just to help you with expectations...
I'm very picky about burgers, probably because I see them generally as being an unhealthy splurge. In N Out burgers and fries are very pure and very simple. That's why I like them, I guess. White flour bun (a splurge for me, since I avoid white flour - and white rice for that matter), thick slice of beefsteak tomato, large, whole piece of iceberg lettuce and a nice, round, thick slice of white onion, hold the special sauce. The fries are made from whole potatoes that are cut up on the premises just prior to deep frying, and must be eaten hot, else you probably won't appreciate them (they are distinctly different from the usual frozen fries that most places use). The burger and the fries are a super yummy splurge for only about 400 calories each, which is less than half the calories than many other yummy burgers. I think that's why I like the In N Out burger. A yummy splurge on a basic, classic hamburger made from fresh ingredients (and a white bread bun!) but not too many calories. If you're looking for that ultimate, decadent burger to sink your teeth and taste buds into, In N Out is likely not that burger.
I've seen over rated on here, but I personally enjoy a 5 Guys Burgers and Fries a couple of times per year. I think they're great. Our trip to Cali not so long ago had me face to face with an In and Out...boy was I excited. I'd heard of these beauties for years, but never had the chance.....Big let down for me. I guess they were over hyped in my mind and didn't meet the threshold of greatness for me.
My son as a huge hamburger fan. While he was at Temple University, I found a top 10 burgers in Philly list. Mainly bars and taprooms. All 10 were great.
Don't take me wrong I love In-N-Out when in CA, but our twang and humidity would go against the business model! My son works in management for Whataburger and they actually care as well about their people, he has a fantastic job and sure doesn't like me raving over INOB when we are in CA.
I love all burgers but have always been struck by the attitude of everyone who works at INOB. Managers have told me that experience is secondary to customer service and being helpful and friendly. Three interviews per candidate (vast majority at high schoolers), and a great starting wage too. It's the ambiance, the cleanliness and the friendliness that keeps me coming back.
I agree with painplatinum that Five Guys burger is delicious. Never had an In-N-Out for comparison. But, if you want a solidly good burger + GREAT Customer Service Whataburger is the place. They can't wait to personally bring your food and condiments to you with a smile. Very clean, too.
You are totally correct.....no going to the Whataburger counter for your food! And special Whataburger ketchup and mustard are pretty good as well.
My son who is an Area Director for Whataburger spends hours and hours on customer service training and then does the same with his GM's who drive home the point of customer service to their employees. If his GM's don't follow through or can't get their team members to pick up on the concept the GM is then in hot water with the kid....hmmmm wonder what hotel chain near by could pick up on that concept?
So who tries Marriott burgers in multiple places?
My first one was very memorable. It was at the Seattle Marriott Sea-Tac. In addition to being very good, it was the very first time that I was given Hunt's Ketchup and Grey Poupon mustard (this was a long time ago). I found that I liked the mustard a lot (although I like a lot of mustards, but NOT Heinz yellow mustard). The Hunt's ketchup was the first one I ever tried that I liked as well as Heinz ketchup.
I had several more Marriott burgers back then....mostly in West Coast Marriott hotels. They were all pretty good. Then, I went through a period of time where I didn't have them for a bit. I was staying at CY, RI, etc.
However, my travels got me to the mainstream Marriott hotels.
The Houston Airport Marriott- despite being a dated old hotel - has an excellent Marriott burger (and they've been told by many that they do). This was about the time I started photographing all of the slips when I charge things, to my room/credit card, etc. I had an early flight the next morning and the check out guy was a surly fellow. However, I noticed that this $60 room charge from the Houston Airport Marriott (Wife's and my meals) had not gotten onto the room bill. I called the hotel and they were unable to locate it. I was able to print out the photo of the bill and fax it to them, so they then posted the charge and got their money for the meal. Everything thinks I take the pictures so I don't get cheated, but the Houston Airport Marriott is the only one to have benefited from this practice so far. Anyway, that's the distinction for the Houston hotel.
I had an absolutely bland Marriott burger at the London Heathrow Marriott. Despite being a great hotel, their burgers are not tasty at all. The manager at the time retorted that I didn't understand what British bacon was, that it was the English cooking regulations, etc. As I was bound to London again from the midlands, I abruptly changed my reservation to the Marriott Windsor hotel (a few miles from the Heathrow one) and had an excellent Marriott burger there, hence proving that manager wrong.
The Marriott Tudor Park has a Marriott burger which might even be worse than the Marriott Heathrow one. However, the Rome Courtyard Central park has great burgers as does the Marriott in Calgary, Canada.
Does anyone else have some Marriott burger stories to share?
That's a super idea to take a picture of the receipt for your own protection. Think I know that surly dude, just kidding! The airport hotel at one time was very nice however; if the plans the Houston Airport System had a couple of years back the hotel was to be taken down and either relocated or done away with completely, but it is in bad need of remodeling if they don't tear it down.
Anyway, I don't usually eat many Marriott burgers as they are something I try to avoid unless absolutely necessary to help clear up what I may have consumed on the beverage side of things earlier in the evening, so most of them have been late night offering so the list is quite short, but the bacon is always left on the tray. The burgers I remember clearly are:
I should let my husband answer this question; however, I remember the most expensive burger he ever had. It was at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort and Spa in Maui. It was a Kobe Beef burger and advertised as the best. Of course, he had to try it. He said it was good, but not the best.
Ahh the most expensive, well when you rent an airplane and fly for about 45 minutes each way for a burger it can be almost as expensive as it is a fun adventure in flying. My last burger flight some years ago was around $140 for plane rental and food, but what fun. I sure was silly back then....hey wait, not much has changed except now I'm a silly retiree who won't be spending that money for a burger anymore!
Years ago, we ate at Rain Forest in Mall of America. We thought the hamburgers were WAY overpriced and got something else that we thought was better priced. It was really good, but when the people at a neighboring table got their burgers and fries, it didn't look at all overpriced. I've wished I'd gotten it ever since.
There is a Rain Forest Restaurant in the outlet mall in Dallas that's near the Gaylord Texas Hotel. I've been wanting to go in there to get one, but each time we go, there's a line too long for me to want to wait. Someday, though.
Now, we usually get our burgers (chicken or beef) at Denny's because there are several on our route from AL to SC and also the one in Dallas on Mockingbird Lane (I think that's the street near the children's hospital and Market Hall Ren.) when we stay near there.
Usually, we're looking for Tex-Mex restaurants, though. Or Chinese or Indian, seafood, Greek, Italian. Geez. So many choices. .
Lot's off good burgers out there... I like "The Varsity" in Atlanta because the chili dogs and chili burgers remind me of what I use to get back home 50 years ago.
The fast food ones I've tried and liked around the US:
The "hole in the wall" ones:
Sid's Diner, El Reno, OK
Feltner's What-a-burger, Russellville, AR
Funny how a lot of the "hole in the wall" places that come to mind are associated with cattle auctions and a couple other auction companies...
The CY here in Vinings has a great burger...
Mentioning cattle auctions reminded me of Riscky's Bar-B-Q in the Ft. Worth stockyards area. When we lived in Ft. Worth, they only had the original grocery on Azle Ave. and then the one in Saginaw, 5 miles north of Meacham Field (a small airport). I knew they had expanded to one in the stockyards, and we ate at the steakhouse next door when we visited a few years ago, but they have 6 stores now.
A few doors down is the Tarantula RR to Grapevine.
My favs have been Five Guys...the Marriott burger....Mickie D's but lately Fleming's Steakhouse has this burger they serve only in the bar for their Happy Hour...a steak burger it's absolutely scrumptious! Comes with fries or onion rings (and sometimes both!) too and all for $6. And wash it down with those Happy Hour drinkies (beers, wine, whatever....)
That looks delicious tef. I love the OSI/Bloomin Brands (whatever group they happen to currently be) happy hour deals at Roy's and now that you've tipped me off to this, I'm there. I frequently buy around $200 of Outback cards (good at Bonefish, Roy's, Flemings, Carrabas and of course Outback) and get the Grads/Dads/Christmas 20% bonus so I get $240 worth of cards and combined with happy hour deals (which is when I eat nowadays anyway, although my belt isn't at my nipples....yet!) of great food, I couldn't be happier. The Ritz Fyve has great deals, Landry's, Vidalia in DC and other terrific restaurants (in their lounge) have marvelous values and meals. It's my way of fighting back about no longer being the target audience except for the Network News prescription drugs ads.
tef--that is a serious burger! I have never been to a Flemings (I think there's one in West Omaha), but if I do I know what I'll be eating. WOW!!
And I agree with you on all other counts as well, 5 guys, McDonalds, Marriott burgers just about anywhere. I've eaten many (one day I'll break out the atlas and try to count them all) and only on a couple of occasions have I had to return them to be cooked completely. I'm sure there are bad burgers out there somewhere, but i just haven't come across many.
That one I didn't know about! Thanks for the info!
Isn't it great that all these high end restaurants are so 'hungry' for business that they are all putting out these great (and inexpensive) Happy Hour menus with food and drinks? Just down here we have Fleming's, Tommy Bahama's, Mitchell's Fish Market, PF Chiangs and now a new Italian eatery (Travinia) that's joining the game! It's a great night out and, depending on the amount of cocktails, the bill is usually less than $50!
They had like a New York Strip Sandwich for something like $5 or $7, can't remember exactly, I couldn't believe it (though I'm a believer now!)
Another great happy hour that I've done with a girlfriend after work was at Yard House. We had wine and split an appetizer for a ridiculously low price, and then... I saw a pizza on the appetizer menu (half price, can't exactly remember, but it was crazy great) and thought outloud, 'I should order this and take it home to my men,' to which the bartender replied, 'Done. I'll put the order in 5 minutes before happy hour ends so that you'll get the HH price.' What a deal.
Anyone see this or know about this coming to some of your favorite burger joint McDonald's?
They look like they have been subject to some might thick batter! Grill em baby