28% Of People Agree That This Fast Food Restaurant Has The Worst Fries

When you go to a fast-food restaurant, usually you've got two things on your mind. While you're craving that tempting bacon double cheeseburger or spicy chicken sandwich, no matter how amazing the main item may be, your meal won't be the same without a side of fries. Yes, we all know [insert boilerplate warning about fast food nutrition here], but fast food is what it is, and what it isn't, is all about eating tofu wrapped in a lettuce leaf. So, yeah, we'll all try to eat healthy most of the time, but when we hit up the drive-through, we're going for the combo meal.

What with fries being such a make-it-or-break-it part of the whole fast food experience, Mashed naturally wanted to find out who's got the best fries, so we did. We took a poll, and the survey said: Mickey D's. No surprise there. Still, like any truly dedicated scientists, we decided to approach this data from a different angle. This time, we polled 656 people in order to ask them who's got the worst fries. While we may not make our decision on where to eat solely based on the best fries, since it all depends on what's on the main menu, still, having truly horrific fries just might be a deal-breaker. So we polled, we tallied, and we arrived at this earthshaking conclusion: 28.05 percent of those polled think Burger King makes fries more befitting a pauper.

What makes BK's fries so bad?

Once upon a time, that long-ago time being 1997 (via Counterintuitive Marketing: Achieving Great Results Using Common Sense), Burger King went to great lengths to establish themselves as the Fry King as well and spent millions promoting taste tests that seemed to show consumers preferring the taste of their new fries to the golden (arches) standard ones produced by their number one rival.

Well, that preference, if it ever really existed, is something that seemingly died with the old millennium. It's not that Burger King's fries are particularly terrible but rather that they rate a pretty solid "meh." Thrillist ranked them #13 on a list of 19, finding them to be decent but unexciting. Burger King does have one thing going for them in the fry department, though – the standard version is nothing special, but those tasty chicken fries (still available as part of the $10 meal deal) are one of the best things on BK's menu.

Who else has lousy fries?

The other chains we listed on our poll were, in no particular order, Shake Shack, Wendy's, In-N-Out, Five Guys, McDonald's, and Habit Burger. The results, however, were...well, open to interpretation. Wendy's, another usually solidly middle-of-the-road fry, came in 2nd-worst, with 20.88 percent of respondents giving them the thumbs-down. Perhaps some may have made the mistake of ordering those fries loaded down with chili or cheese sauce since this inevitably turns into a soggy, nasty mess about 30 seconds after you get it. McDonald's, believe it or not, rated as 3rd-worst – crazy stuff, since who doesn't love their fries? Almost 12 percent (11.74 to be precise) of our respondents, that's who. We're going to assume they tried eating them 10 minutes past their prime since there's a pretty steep drop-off in quality the longer the fries have been out of the fryer.

Even crazier, in 4th place, meaning they were HATED LESS THAN McDonald's fries, were In-N-Out's reliably execrable offerings. The only explanation we can offer here is, due to In-N-Out's lack of market penetration outside a handful of western states, it's entirely possible that only 11.28 percent of our poll respondents had ever tried these fries (and duly rated them as the worst ones ever, of course).

These fries may not be so terrible

In 5th place came Habit Burger, another small regional chain. Turns out 7.93 percent of respondents think their fries are awful, but the other roughly 92 percent may never have tried them. Five Guys fries, came in 6th place, perhaps because 7.32 percent were just overwhelmed by the sheer quantity – plus, truth be told, a heaping helping of fries means that the ones at the bottom of the bag are practically guaranteed to be cold and hard by the time they're excavated. Last on our list, meaning their fries were the least bad, was Shake Shack, with just 5.79 percent of the vote. Oddly enough, this chain came in 2nd-to-last on our poll of the best fries, as they were favorited by only 4 percent of poll respondents. Not great, not terrible, in fact, not memorable at all – that's Shake Shack fries for you.

The remaining 7.01 percent of poll respondents, however, chose to answer "other" and supply their own candidates. While a number, as usual, said they either didn't know or didn't eat fries (plus a few who said they never met a fry they didn't like!), we did get a few more plausible candidates for fries best avoided: KFC, Arby's, DQ, Jack in the Box, and Steak & Shake. It seems the one conclusion that can be drawn from these results is that one person's tasty fried potato is another person's poison – but then, ketchup is the great equalizer, and even the worst fries beat having no fries at all.