"Americans spend about $1.7 billion per day at restaurants. That's close to the amount they spend each year on indigestion remedies," Tod Marks, senior projects editor at Consumer Reports said in a statement. "Clearly, diners deserve a sure thing: A clean place that provides tasty food, good value and solicitous service."
Consumer Reports surveyed 47,565 diners -- based on more than 110,500 restaurant visits -- to help find the best meals and best deals at 102 of the nation's biggest sit-down chain restaurants.
Nine chains earned high marks across the board for the four attributes -- taste, value, service and mood -- plus praise in three other key areas: menu variety, cleanliness and a lack of noise. They were: Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano, Black Angus Steakhouse, Bob Evans, Bravo Cucina Italiana, First Watch, J. Alexander's, Le Peep, Elmer's and Fatz Eatz & Drinkz, Marks said.
Among the lower-rated chains were Friendly's and Waffle House. Both drew low marks for cleanliness and mood, but Friendly's was also criticized for lackluster service. The pub-style Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar was another laggard, criticized for value and noise.
Complete restaurant ratings on all 102 popular chains are available now in Consumer Reports August issue or online at www.ConsumerReports.org.