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Five Guys dethrones In-N-Out as most favorite burger chain

May 17 (UPI) -- Five Guys Burgers & Fries has replaced In-N-Out Burger as consumers' most favorite hamburger chain in Harris Poll's annual brand report.
The two brands are headquartered and dominate on opposite coasts -- In-N-Out Burger is based in Irvine, Calif., and is mainly in the West, and Five Guys is headquartered in Lorton, Va., and its roots are on the East Coast. One other difference: In-N-Out owns its restaurants and Five Guys has franchises.
In-N-Out had held the top spot for two years and dropped to second in the latest Harris Poll.
This year's study was based on input from 102,617 U.S. consumers age 15 and older between Dec. 30, 2016 and Feb. 21. This is the 29th year Harris has measured the strength of brands, including travel and finance.
The chains are ranked based on familiarity, quality and purchase consideration.
Five Guys was No. 1 in purchase consideration.
McDonald's ranked No. 1 for familiarity but was No. 7 overall.
Sandwiched between In-N-Out and McDonald's were No. 3 Shake Shack, No. 4 Wendy's, No. 5 Culver's, No. 6 Whataburger. After McDonald's it was No. 8 Sonic, 9. Smashburger and No. 10 Steak 'n Shake.
Failing to make the list: Burger King, Jack in The Box, Carl's Jr., Checkers/Rally's, DQ Grill & Chill, Hardee's, Jack in the Box and White Castle.
"The burger brand category has become less fragmented, as regional brands expand and become available in more parts of the country," Joan Sinopoli, vice president of brand solutions at The Harris Poll, said in a statement. "This is certainly the case with Five Guys, who has shed its 'small regional player' designation as it expands its footprint and marketing budget along with its fandom, which is a tremendous contributor to brand equity."
The first Five Guys opened in 1986, in Arlington, Va. It expanded out of the Northern Virginia area in 2003 and has grown to 1,500 locations throughout the United States. The chain is known for its burgers, grilled in front of customers and topped with limitless toppings, and fries that are cooked in peanut oil.
In-N-Out was founded in California in 1948 and has more than 300 locations in California, Arizona, Texas, Nevada, Oregon and Utah. The chain only serves burgers, fries, shakes and drinks.
In 2013, 48 percent of respondents were familiar with Five Guys, according to the Harris Poll. That figure is now 68 percent, with Five Guys reaching 81 percent familiarity among Generation Z and millennials.
Following are other No. 1 brand ratings: Starbucks (coffee and quick service restaurant), Chick-fil-A (chicken restaurant), Papa John's Pizza (pizza chain), Subway (sandwich shop), Moe's Southwest Grill (fast casual Mexican restaurant), The Cheesecake Factory (casual dining restaurant) and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream (ice cream and frozen yogurt shop).

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