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Zagat's survey of tops in fast food is released

While a Five Guys cheeseburger with bacon is

While a Five Guys cheeseburger with bacon is delicious, your waistline will pay the price.
(May 26, 2010) Credit: Rebecca Cooney

Wendy's is once again tops as voted by survey participants who weighed in on their favorite fast-food picks.

More than 6,500 diners voted in Zagat's latest survey, covering 97 major fast food chains and 39 full service chains and those results were released Monday morning.

Survey participants weighed in on everything from chicken to cheeseburgers to smoothies and seafood at fast food chains. The 6,518 diners ate at chain outlets on average 10.7 times per month.

A selection of the winners was announced live on the "Today" show Monday morning.

"It’s virtually impossible to live anywhere in America without having a  fast food chain outlet in the neighborhood. We know that these chains play an important role in feeding our population. That’s the reason why we undertook this survey and why we believe the results are so important," said Tim Zagat, the chief executive of Zagat Survey.

The winners include Wendy's as the No 1 pick for 2010's "Top Food" category among mega-chains. Also holding onto its title is West Coast burger chain In-N-Out Burger, which again ranked as the best in the "Top Food among Large Chains" category.

Ben & Jerry’s prevailed in the "Quick-Refreshment" category, according to Zagat, while Subway won in the mega-chain category for "Top Health Options" and Jamba Juice’s all natural fruit smoothies helped them take the prize for best "Quick-Refreshment" in the same "Top Health Option."

Taking home the prize for "Best Value" among fast food establishments is McDonald’s, which also celebrated top honors for its breakfasts, Value Menu, child friendliness and drive-thrus.

The remaining top-ranked values among Fast Food chains are, in order, Panera Bread, Chipotle, Taco Bell and Chick-fil-A.

The top three full service winners for "Best Value" are Olive Garden, Cracker Barrel and The Cheesecake Factory.

Who ranked top in coffee chains?  Surveyors have ordered a double-shot of love for Starbucks, which wins in the category of "Best Coffee" once again. The Seattle-based coffee behemoth with more than 10,000 branches beat out rival Dunkin’ Donuts, which came in second, followed by McDonald’s in third place.

This year, Virginia-based burger chain Five Guys has earned bragging rights in the hotly-contested Best Burger category, edging out regional and mega-chain competitors alike. However, no chain has been able to dethrone McDonald’s which wins in the category of "Best French Fries" for the third straight survey.

For additional results, visit