American diners think Shake Shack offers the worst value for money of any chain in the US – with Panera Bread close behind.
New data showed that the two restaurants topped a list of eight popular fast-food restaurants where customers felt the meals they were served fell short of the prices they paid for them.
The data compiled by the investment firm Stifelfound that Shake Shack averages $13.30 per meal, and Panera averages $14.76 per meal.
Stifel gathered their pricing data from 20 cities and their customer satisfaction based on the number of dissatisfied customers versus the number of locations each franchise has.
It comes as the US continues to face the effects of rising inflation, suggesting that even fast food offers little relief to the wallets of cash-strapped consumers.
Records showed that Chik-fil-A followed Shake Shack and Panera for customer dissatisfaction in the bang-for-buck department, then Panda Express, Chipotle, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and finally McDonald’s.
Levels of dissatisfaction with each of the chains varied, with Shake Shack scoring a whopping 97 out of 100 — meaning significantly more people expressed dissatisfaction compared to the number of locations the chain had.
Conversely, McDonald’s only scored a 4 out of 100 based on the ratio of dissatisfied respondents to franchise locations.
Panera Bread scored 29 out of 100, Chik-fil-A came in at 16, Panda Express at 15, Chipotle at 14, then Wendy’s at 6 and Taco Bell at 4.
Customer satisfaction didn’t necessarily follow average meal price rankings — for example, although Chik-fil-A clocked in at number three on the dissatisfaction list, it had the lowest average meal price at $8.74.
Stifel’s general manager, Chris O’Cull, said the data showed that price doesn’t always match customer satisfaction.
“Some are considered overpriced despite their meal prices being lower,” he said Market overview.
Behind Panera in the top meal price place came Chipotle at $14.34, then Shake Shack, followed by Panda Express at $10.32 per meal, then Wendy’s at $9.89, Taco Bell at $9.69, McDonald’s at $8 .87 and Chik-fil-A for the cheapest.
Data showed that consumers felt that Shake Shack offered by far the worst value for money
Panera Bread followed Shake Shack for consumer dissatisfaction
Stifel’s data did not take into account all fast food restaurants in the US.
For example, Five Guys was more expensive than Panera Bread on average — at $16.33 per meal — but it was not included in the value for money findings.
It is unclear why some restaurants are not included in the data.
Customer satisfaction data compiled by Statesman found that Five Guys landed right in the middle of a string of popular fast food chains, between Chipotle and Panda Express.
Chipotle’s chief financial officer defended the restaurant’s pricing in a statement, telling MarketWatch that the average price of a chicken burrito was $9, and “well below our fast-casual peers.” However, the Stifel data took into account the average price of full meals.
Shake Shack referred DailyMail.com to an earnings report that stated, “A Shack burger, fries, and drink averages less than $14, well within and often below the price of other nearby lunch or dinner options.”
Although inflation has eased in recent months, prices across the country were still about 6.4 percent higher in January than in the same period last year.
To meet that demand, restaurants are forced to jack up their own prices and pass on the cost of doing business to the customer.
Food inflation remained high at 10.1 percent year-on-year, while energy prices, which fell in November and December on the back of falling gasoline prices, rose again to an annual inflation rate of 8.7 percent.
Panera Bread did not respond to requests for comment from DailyMail.com.