Costco, In-N-Out and More Top Forbes’ 100 Most-Loved Companies List — What They Are Doing Right

Close up view of Costco food court stock photo
Fang Zheng /

Forbes released a new list this year that spotlights the world’s most-loved companies. Developed in partnership with HundredX, a data and analytics firm based in Dallas, Texas, the Halo 100 recognizes companies that deliver a superior customer service experience, allowing business to thrive.

Warehouse shopping club Costco tops the inaugural list for 2021. Let’s look at the top companies on the list and explore how their brand values and service build customer trust and loyalty — and why you may want to give these companies your business if you aren’t already doing so.

1. Costco

The warehouse club Costco has 113 million members across the world, serving 11 countries. With high-quality meat, produce and even furniture at low prices, the company attracts almost a cult-following of members willing to pay $60 to shop there. Facebook groups devoted to “Costco finds” share consumer reviews and great deals. One such group has over 861K members and counting. Poll respondents cited Costco’s quality products, prices, and cleanliness as its top attributes.

Costco leverages its immense purchasing power to pass savings onto customers — even amid rapid inflation. Supply chain issues like the current cream cheese shortages haven’t seemed to stifle Costco’s ability to serve its customers. “It took a little extra work, but we’ve got all the cream cheese we need,” Richard Galanti, Costco’s chief financial officer, said during an analyst call in mid-December.

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2. In-N-Out Burger

Quick-service, fast-casual burger chain In-N-Out maintains a tight hold over customer service and product consistency by refusing to franchise locations and remaining family-owned since its launch in 1948. In-N-Out Burgers are found exclusively in California and Texas, adding to their allure. The meat is always shipped fresh — never frozen — and food is made to order. The restaurants do prepare the patties in advance to maintain fast service.

3. Chick-fil-A

Not a burger person? Chicken chain Chick-fil-A holds the third spot on the Halo 100 list, exemplifying similar values as In-N-Out Burger. Even controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A didn’t stem the love many people have for the crispy chicken sandwiches and thick shakes. Chick-fil-A is closed on Sunday and, like In-N-Out, has fewer locations than fast-food franchises like McDonalds. This scarcity, coupled with clean restaurants and a top-down positive company culture, leads to consistently long lines and customers who will insist the high-quality, antibiotic-free chicken is worth the wait.

4. Publix Super Markets

Like the other companies on the Halo 100 list, Publix Super Markets has a solid company culture where employees are valued and, as such, treat customers well. Perks like made-to-order subs, an exemplary bakery and “legendary” fried chicken, according to TheKitchn, further set the grocery store apart. A consistent shopping experience across their locations — which span six Southern states — makes Publix a shopping staple for many American families.

5. Trader Joe’s

Low prices, fantastic produce and an impressive array of specialty items has helped grocery store chain Trader Joe’s cultivate a passionate fan base. With a nautical theme across the store, Trader Joe’s emphasizes an overall exemplary and memorable experience. There is always something new and exciting to look at, which even keeps kids engaged during a shopping trip.

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With so many options for today’s consumers, it’s not always easy for brands to compete. By promoting a positive company culture — that begins at the top — offering exemplary experiences, clean locations and low prices, these top brands have won the hearts of consumers worldwide.

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