(Jan. 2) Publix Super Markets Inc., Lakeland, Fla., consistently ranks high in customer satisfaction surveys for service and cleanliness, and now the chain has been recognized as the nation’s top grocery store company.

That’s the honor given by Corporate Research International, Findlay, Ohio, which sent online opinion polls to about 5,000 panelists four times in 2006. The market-research firm specializes in mystery shoppers and customer-satisfaction surveys and released the results Dec. 27. Publix shoppers ranked the company based on their perceptions of customer service.

Publix has 884 stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Also receiving top ranking is Subway, in the fast food category. The sandwich restaurant chain uses fresh vegetables, including bell peppers, red onions and lettuce.