Moe’s Takes Over From Chipotle As Most-Loved Tex-Mex Chain

Image courtesy of Mike Mozart

It’s easy to figure out why fast-casual chain Chipotle has fallen in the opinion of American consumers: there was that series of foodborne illness outbreaks in their restaurants from the fall of 2015 through early 2016. Since last year, the chain fell from the top position in the Harris Poll restaurant rankings for its category, behind Taco Bell, Qdoba, and Baja Fresh. The top position was taken by Moe’s, a smaller chain.

This isn’t based on sales, of course: if that were the case, Taco Bell would win the “fast-casual Mexican” category handily every year. The data comes from a poll of around 100,000 Americans over age 15 to determine the “brand equity” and popularity of brands with the public.

National chains dominate the list not because they’re the best, but because they’re ubiquitous. Subway, for example, took the top sandwich shop title for the sixth year running.

“Moe’s Southwest Grill and Subway are examples of restaurants that have listened to their customers and responded to their needs,” Lisa Recoussine, VP of client solutions at Harris Poll owner Nielsen, said in a statement.

Moe’s and Qdoba are in the same price range and freshness-pushing mindset as Chipotle, yet have not experienced any food safety crises in the last year, so their move up the ranks of the Harris fast casual Mexican rankings makes sense.

The Harris Poll Names Restaurant Brands of the Year [Harris Poll]
2016 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Rankings [Harris Poll]