Skip navigation

Meet the 2020 standout Consumer Picks restaurants

The restaurant brands consumers love the most — before and after the COVID-19 pandemic took hold

Understanding why consumers love some restaurant brands more than others is a complex endeavor under the best of circumstances.

Throw in a global pandemic, and it becomes even more complicated.

Every year for decades, Nation’s Restaurant News has asked consumers what restaurant brands they love best, and why. As in past years, this data is based on surveys conducted by market research firm Datassential.

In 2020, the project began as planned. But then COVID-19 forced a restaurant lockdown in March. Though many restaurants remained closed for months, Datassential in June went back to asking consumers how they were feeling about their favorite brands — at least the ones that were still operating within the restrictions.

That follow-up survey included a smaller sample. But the data gives an interesting picture of some attributes that were important to consumers after the pandemic took hold.

In this report, you’ll see pre- and post-pandemic loyalty to certain brands. You’ll see the 10 full- and limited-service brands that consumers said they would go out of their way for, even after COVID-related closures. And you’ll see which brands earned consumer trust when it comes to safety protocols and sanitation.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.