Consumers' growing beef with fast food

In Europe, fast-food joints don't enjoy a sterling reputation. For many people, they are a potent symbol of economic globalization and the genetic modification of food.

That distaste seems to be mounting in the US, too., a website that catalogs consumer opinion, says that complaints from Americans about fast-food establishments have spiked over the past few months, outpacing compliments by nearly 50 percent.

From September 2000 to February 2001, the restaurant industry elicited the highest volume of consumer feedback at the site, led by 15,000 messages directed to fast-food chains. Top concerns are food safety, cleanliness, and poor service. Customer requests include more breakfast offerings, low-fat items, and veggie burgers.

Grades of various chains, based on consumer opinion:

In-N-Out Burger A

Chick-fil-A A-

Krispy Kreme A-

White Castle B

Long John Silver's B-

Boston Market B-

Dairy Queen C

Wendy's C

Burger King C

McDonald's C

Taco Bell C

Hardees C-

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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