Consumer Picks: Top 5 limited-service restaurant chains

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This is part of NRN’s 2012 Consumer Picks special report, produced in partnership with WD Partners. The study rates top restaurant chains based on customer preferences. Visit Consumer Picks on NRN.com for more information. For the full report, including detailed rankings on the more than 100 chains, see the Aug. 6 issue of Nation’s Restaurant News.

In the 2011 Consumer Picks survey, Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza took the top spot, and In-N-Out Burger took second place. But ice cream specialist Marble Slab, one of six new brands in this year’s LSR category, pushed last year’s high rankers to second and third place, respectively.

The attributes consumers consider most important among limited-service brands are Food Quality, a brand’s Reputation and Cleanliness.

1. Marble Slab Creamery

This popular frozen-treat chain recently opened its first location in Saudi Arabia and merged with MaggieMoo's Ice Cream and Treatery under the Marble Slab Creamery moniker. The chain makes its Consumer Picks debut with the highest score in the limited-service category.

Number of units: 250 (source: Technomic Top 500)
U.S. systemwide sales: $66.5 million (source: Technomic Top 500)
Survey strengths: Cleanliness, Menu Variety, Atmosphere, Craveability
Last year’s rank: N/A

Next: Papa Murphy's Take 'N Bake Pizza