These Are the Best and Worst Individual Grocery Stores in the U.S.

By Neal Taparia - 01/12/2024

When we asked our users where they play our solitaire games like Spider and FreeCell, the grocery store line came up as a surprising answer. Given our goal at Solitaired is to create moments of joy, it got us wondering what grocery stores provide the best experience.Which stores are America’s favorites? And which have the most complaints?

To find these answers and more, we analyzed Google reviews from 3,000 individual grocery stores across 100 cities to highlight which ones stand out in customer service, food quality, prices, and yes, even the speed of their checkout lines.

In slow-moving moments, such as waiting in the checkout line, Solitaired provides an option to make these waits less tedious. Instead of merely standing there, you can be entertained by a game of solitaire on your phone. While it may not revolutionize the grocery shopping experience, it offers a simple diversion to make the more monotonous aspects of your routine a bit more enjoyable.

Key Findings

  • Giant Eagle Supermarket on Cedar Ave. in Pittsburgh is the worst grocery store overall.
  • Trader Joe’s on E. Williams Field Rd. in Gilbert, AZ, is the best overall grocery store.
  • Trader Joe’s, Costco, and Wegmans are America’s favorite major grocery chains.
  • King Soopers, Save A Lot, and Kroger are America’s least favorite major grocery chains.

Your Neighborhood Trader Joe’s Is Probably Amazing

To fairly identify the best and worst grocery stores in the U.S., we focused only on stores with over 1,000 reviews. We then combined both the star rating and the number of reviews to rank each grocery store.

The best grocery stores are led by Trader Joe's, with locations on E. Williams Field Rd. in Gilbert, AZ, and on 4th St. N. in St. Petersburg, FL, scoring 4.8 and 4.7 stars, respectively. Central Market on West Fwy. in Fort Worth, TX, also earns a high rating of 4.7 stars.

Trader Joe's dominates this list with 45 locations, exemplifying its success in delivering a high-quality customer experience. The presence of stores like Central Market and Monnettes' Market in Toledo among the Trader Joe’s on our list indicates that smaller or less nationally recognized stores can also achieve remarkable levels of customer satisfaction.

America's best grocery store

Our findings reveal the top three worst groceries in the country: Giant Eagle Supermarket on Cedar Ave. in Pittsburgh; Metro Thriftway on E. 63rd St. in Kansas City; and Walmart Supercenter on E. Exposition Ave. in Aurora, CO.

Notably, Walmart appears frequently on this list, with 19 locations highlighted in cities like Aurora, Cincinnati, and Wichita. Several cities, including Portland, Aurora, San Francisco, and Norfolk, appear multiple times, which may indicate a trend of lower customer satisfaction in these areas.

America’s worst grocery store

These Grocery Stores Have the Worst Customer Experience

To understand the specific areas where grocery stores receive the most customer experience complaints, we analyzed 3,000 grocery stores for individual reviews of 3 stars or less. The keywords we looked for included “long line” and “unprofessional.”

To quantify our findings, the count of these keywords was calculated for each store and then divided by the total number of reviews, resulting in a "frequency of mentions per total reviews" percentage.

King Soopers on S. Peoria St. in Aurora, CO, tops the list of stores with the worst lines with a 4.95% frequency of complaints. This is followed by Whole Foods Market on Greene St. in Jersey City, NJ, and another King Soopers location on S. Havana St. in Aurora, CO.

Notably, Kroger appears 6 times in our list, with King Soopers and Whole Foods also frequently mentioned. Long lines also appear to be a common issue across a range of stores, from high-end giants, such as Whole Foods, to budget options, like Food 4 Less.

In terms of customer service, Downtown Foodmart on S. 16th St. in Omaha, NE, leads the list with 16.39% of reviews mentioning poor customer service. This store is closely followed by Anas Halal Grocery on E. Virginia Beach Blvd. in Norfolk, VA, and Asian Market on University Dr. NW in Huntsville, AL.

It's important to consider these findings in the broader context of retail challenges. Understaffing, a common issue in retail, often contributes to long lines and subpar service. This is notable, especially when comparing these stores with the likes of Trader Joe's, which, despite similar economic pressures, consistently provides excellent service.

This contrast shows that great customer service is possible, even with these challenges. It also underscores how much store management and company rules can make or break the shopping experience.

Grocery stores with the worst customer service Grocery stores with the worst customer service

These Grocery Stores Have the Worst Quality and Prices

To understand the stores with the worst quality and prices, we again analyzed 3,000 grocery stores for individual reviews of 3 stars or less. We searched for keywords such as “expired,” “expensive,” and more to gauge customer dissatisfaction regarding food quality and pricing.

Leading the list of stores with the worst food quality is Villard Food Town on W Villard Ave. in Milwaukee, WI, with 13.46% of complaints related to food quality. This store is closely followed by Fresh and Less Market on W. Owens Ave. in Las Vegas, NV, and Maligaya Asian Market on W. Craig Rd. in North Las Vegas, NV.

Interestingly, Sprouts Farmers Market and Kroger are mentioned multiple times in this category. This could indicate that concerns about food quality span across various types of grocery stores, from discount shops like Metro Market, to upscale versions like DeLuca’s Market.

In terms of pricing, Plum Market Kitchen on Euclid Ave. in Cleveland, OH, tops the list with 25.31% of reviews criticizing their prices. Foodie's Markets on W. Broadway in Boston, MA, and Sprove Market Place on Christopher Colombus Dr. in Jersey City, NJ, also feature prominently. The frequent appearance of specialty markets and gourmet delis in this list suggests that stores offering specialized or high-end products tend to be perceived as more expensive for the value by customers.

Grocery stores with the worst food quality Grocery stores with the worst prices

Where Do Your Favorite Major Chains Fall?

In an effort to rank the best and worst major grocery chains in the country, we compiled a list of 30 prominent U.S. grocery brands and, to ensure fairness, only considered individual stores that had garnered 1,000 or more reviews. By evaluating individual store ratings, an average rating for each major grocery chain was calculated, forming the basis for the rankings.

Trader Joe's emerges as the leader of America’s favorite major chains with an average rating of 4.638. And the best individual Trader Joe’s in the country? You can find it at 1779 E. Williams FIeld Rd. in Gilbert, AZ.

Trader Joe’s is closely followed by Costco and Wegmans, both with an average rating of 4.600. These ratings indicate a high level of customer satisfaction and consistent performance across these major chains.

On the other side, King Soopers, with an average rating of 3.938, falls at the bottom of the list. This chain is followed by Save A Lot and Kroger, with average ratings of 4.019 and 4.023 respectively.

Best and worst grocery store chains

Don’t Forget Solitaired as Part of Your Next Grocery Run

Our look into grocery stores nationwide reveals a simple truth: shopping can be a mixed bag. From the top-notch service of well-loved stores to the all-too-common hassles of long lines and less-than-stellar service, each trip to the grocery store can be unpredictable.

In the midst of these everyday frustrations, Solitaired steps in as a welcome respite with many free games. Imagine you're stuck in one of King Soopers' long lines or just had a less-than-ideal shopping trip at Walmart. This is where a game like TriPeaks or Pyramid Solitaire comes into play. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, Solitaired gives you a chance to escape into a game, offering a moment of calm and a mental reset.


In December 2023, we scraped Google reviews from the 100 most populated cities in the United States, focusing on the first 30 grocery store results in each city. This process resulted in a dataset encompassing 3,000 individual grocery store review pages.

To accurately gauge negative customer experiences, our analysis was limited to store reviews with a rating of 3 stars or less, ensuring a focus on critiques and areas for improvement.

Our data scrape targeted specific keywords, categorized to reflect distinct aspects of the shopping experience. In the “Price” category, we tracked the following terms: "expensive," "overpriced," "costly," and "price.” For the “Staff” category, we scraped: "rude," "unfriendly," "friendly," and "unprofessional”. The ”Food” category included "produce," "fresh," "expired," "food," and "out of date."

Additionally, for the “Line'” category we scraped for mentions of "long," "slow," "wait," "crowded," "packed," and "checkout" if the review also contained the word "line." This nuanced approach allowed us to specifically capture sentiments related to waiting times and checkout processes, further refining our understanding of customer dissatisfaction.

By focusing solely on individual Google reviews with ratings of 3 stars or less, our methodology ensured a concentrated analysis of negative feedback, providing valuable insights into the areas where grocery stores could enhance their customer service and overall shopping experience.

About the author

Neal Taparia is one of the founders of Solitaired. He loves playing card games and is interested in understanding how games can help with brain training and skills building. In addition to card games, he also likes fishing and mountain biking.

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