What does the typical frequent quick-service restaurant (QSR) consumer look like? Recent research finds that he is Caucasian, between 25 and 34 years old, accompanied by his spouse or significant other, and likely dining in the restaurant. So finds a demographic analysis of almost 38,000 consumers polled for Technomic Inc.’s ongoing Consumer Restaurant Brand Metrics research and analyzed for the recently released Understanding Quick-Service Restaurants and Their Customers Market Intelligence Report.
“The quick-service restaurant segment includes some of the largest and most innovative companies in the U.S., as well as some interesting up-and-comers,” says Technomic Executive Vice President Darren Tristano. “But at the same time, increasing competition means that it’s more important than ever to understand what consumers value about fast food and where QSRs have opportunities to improve.”
Technomic’s Consumer Restaurant Brand Metrics program provides chains with a unique scorecard to benchmark performance against their peers and track results over time. The study asks consumers to rate the importance of certain attributes when deciding which QSR to visit. Based on initial survey analysis, Technomic ranked the top attribute categories.
Attribute Importance Ranking
(percentage of consumers giving a top two box rating, based on a 1-5 scale where 1 = not important and 5 = very important)
- Food – 91%
- Cleanliness – 88%
- Service – 86%
- Value – 84%
- Beverage – 78%
- Atmosphere – 61%
Leading Chains in Each Attribute
(top five, in alphabetical order)
- Food – Chick-fil-A, Culver’s, Golden Corral, Jamba Juice, Papa Murphy’s
- Cleanliness – Chick-fil-A, Cold Stone Creamery, Culver’s, In-N-Out Burger, Papa Murphy’s
- Service – Chick-fil-A, Culver’s, In-N-Out Burger, Krispy Kreme, Papa Murphy’s
- Value – Chick-fil-A, CiCi’s Pizza, In-N-Out Burger, Krispy Kreme, Papa Murphy’s
- Beverage – Caribou Coffee, Chick-fil-A, Jamba Juice, Old Country Buffet/HomeTown Buffet, Starbucks
- Atmosphere – Caribou Coffee, Chick-fil-A, Cold Stone Creamery, Culver’s, Starbucks
The first in a new series of related segment-specific reports, Understanding Quick-Service Restaurants and Their Customers examines the demographic composition, behavior and attitudes of quick-service restaurant consumers. The report is powered by Technomic’s Consumer Restaurant Brand Metrics program, an ongoing comprehensive study that demonstrates how consumers rate the importance of roughly 50 restaurant attributes regarding food, service, atmosphere, value, convenience, reputation and more, as well as the performance of 52 leading quick-service chains on these attributes.
- 82 percent of QSR consumers rate the food quality at their recent visits as good or very good.
- QSR patronage tends to peak with the 25-34 age group, then decrease with each age cohort.
- Consumers form opinions about products and services whether they have had first-hand experience or not. 66 percent of consumers feel that the average QSR is good or very good at emotional connection; and 58 percent say the same of brand image.
- Consumers give QSRs an average rating of 56 percent for advertising effectiveness, but those numbers range from a high of 69 percent who believe the top chain is good or very good to a low of just 33 percent.
- Eight out of 10 consumers say they are willing to recommend the quick-service restaurant they rated to friends and family.
Technomic’s Consumer Restaurant Brand Metrics is an ongoing program that monitors the performance of more than 100 leading limited-service and full-service restaurant chains by measuring consumer experience and providing chain ratings based on 50+ brand attributes. An online data platform allows users immediate access to the results of these studies and enables custom-tailored searches to track changes in consumer reporting over time.