In a recent survey of restaurant customers in the United States, when it comes to identifying what drives loyalty for restaurants, the most commonly-cited factors in determining which fast-casual restaurant is visited most often are best-tasting food (51%), good service (46%), cleanliness (45%), and highest-quality food (43%). The survey, conducted by by Consumer Edge Insight, included 17 of the largest fast-casual restaurant brands in the US.
The survey asked consumers to rate restaurant brands on different attributes. The fast-casual brands with the strongest perceptions for providing “great-tasting food” among past visitors were Pei Wei Asian Diner (51%), Culver’s (49%), Panera Bread (47%), and Chipotle Mexican Grill (46%). Pei Wei Asian Diner (44%), Panera Bread (43%), Culver’s (42%), Firehouse Subs (39%), and Five Guys Burgers (38%) were the top scoring brands for having “good service.” The top-scoring fast-casual brands for “high-quality food” were Pei Wei Asian Diner (45%), Panera Bread (43%), Chipotle Mexican Grill (38%), Firehouse Subs (37%), and Culver’s (33%).
The survey also asked past-three-month-visitors to each brand how satisfied they were with their most recent visit and how likely they were to visit again. The brand whose recent customers are most likely to visit again is Chipotle Mexican Grill (73% said they will “definitely” visit again), followed by Panera Bread (70%), Culver’s and Firehouse Subs (with 67% each), and Five Guys Burgers and Zaxby’s (with 66% each).
“For restaurants in the fast-casual segment, the most important factors that drive loyalty to a brand are all related to providing great food and service,” said David Decker, President, Consumer Edge Insight. “Pei Wei Asian Diner, Panera Bread and Culver’s are among the top scoring brands in the segment on each of these attributes, but with many other brands close behind. Restaurants need to keep raising the bar on providing great food and service while also looking for other unique ways to differentiate themselves in this competitive segment.”