What Is The Worst Chain Restaurant? Here's What Food Lovers Say - Exclusive Survey

Chain restaurants, whether or not you're a fan, do fill a valuable niche in the dining industry. For one thing, they tend to offer a pretty consistent experience so you'll have a good idea of what you're getting whether you're in Pittsburgh or Peoria. For another, they are very upfront with their nutritional information, meaning that you'll easily be able to tell whether any given dish fits into your diet without having to play 20 questions with your server. The downside, of course, is that while the food can range from fair to pretty good, it might not approach excellence. Some might say it seldom – if ever – does.

That said, chain restaurants vary in quality just as standalone ones do. Mashed approached 622 chain restaurant fans and asked them to choose from a list of six: Applebee's, Chili's, Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, Red Lobster, and TGI Fridays. We weren't asking them to pick their favorite, but rather, to tell us which one should be voted off Dining Island. While we had a pretty close finish, the biggest loser was a restaurant where what's promised on the menu might not necessarily be what winds up on your plate.

Red Lobster received the most votes

The worst chain restaurant, according to 20.9% of people we polled, is Red Lobster. While it does make a pretty tasty Cheddar Bay Biscuit, the eponymous lobster isn't all it's cracked up to be. Some, like these detractors on Reddit, might consider the seafood overrated and overpriced. And with some dishes such as "lobster" bisque, what you may really be getting is a much cheaper crustacean called langostino. The chain has also made claims about seafood sustainability that allegedly don't hold up to scrutiny. With issues like these, it's no wonder some people are dubious about dining at Red Lobster.

Applebee's, despite a bump in popularity from being name-checked by a country crooner, still got the thumbs-down from 20.1% of our voters. "Hmm, serves it right, you might be saying if you thought the "Fancy Like" commercial got incredibly annoying after the first viewing. Chili's came in third in this unpopularity contest with around 17.4%, while Olive Garden wasn't too far behind with about 16.6%.

TGI Fridays performed comparatively well, only getting downvoted by 13.3%. But then, it does deserve kudos for not making a jingle out of the 20-tweens joke hit "Friday." In last place, making it the most popular of the chains we chose to highlight here, was Outback Steakhouse. This restaurant earned a disapproval rating lower than 12%. Perhaps the moderately-priced steaks and bread make it worth putting up with the cheesy "Crocodile Dundee" theme.