Value, Convenience Drive Loyalty to Quick-Serve Restaurants; McDonald’s Is Leader Despite Low Sat

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 quick-service restaurant is visited most often are good value (58%), convenience (57%), low prices (53%), and fast service (51%).  Great-tasting food is only the 8th most important factor in driving loyalty in this segment.

The survey also asked consumers to rate restaurant brands on different attributes.  The quick-service brands with the strongest perceptions for providing “good value” among past visitors were McDonald’s (57%), Subway (53%) and Taco Bell (48%).  McDonald’s (68%), Subway (61%), Taco Bell (50%) and Burger King (50%) also score highly for having “very convenient locations.”  The brands with the strongest perceptions for “fast service” were McDonald’s (64%), Taco Bell (56%), Subway (55%), and Burger King (55%)and Wendy’s 55%.  The top-scoring brands for “great-tasting food” were Subway (58%), Chick-fil-A (54%), and Wendy’s (48%).

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.  While McDonald’s had a low overall satisfaction score, with just 22% of past-three-month-visitors saying they were extremely satisfied with their most recent visit, McDonald’s nonetheless enjoys among the highest Intent to Visit Again scores, with 64% of past-three-month visitors saying they are “extremely likely” to visit again.  Only Subway and Chick-fil-A have higher Intent to Visit Again scores, 68% and 67% respectively. The highest Satisfaction scores among past 3-month visitors were all earned by smaller brands:  Chick-fil-A (66%), Long John Silver (56%), and Whataburger (54%).

“For quick-service restaurant patrons the most important factors that drive loyalty to a brand are good value and convenience, with low prices and quick-service being very important as well,” said David Decker, President, Consumer Edge Insight.  “McDonald’s has a clear image lead on all of these factors, with Subway consistently being the 2nd-best performing brand and Burger King and Wendy’s also performing well. McDonald’s high repeat-purchase intention scores despite their lower satisfaction scores illustrates the strength of their brand on the attributes that matter most to quick-service customers.  Smaller brands need to find ways to differentiate themselves to gain share of wallet in this ultra-competitive segment.”

Restaurant DemandTracker, a new syndicated consumer research service from Consumer Edge Insight, provides an in-depth analysis each quarter of how key economic and secular factors impact restaurant demand and which brands are best-positioned to succeed.  Data for the most recent wave of Restaurant DemandTracker was collected in October via an online survey of over 3,000 US consumers, age 18 and over, designed and weighted to be representative of the US adult population that visit restaurants at least once per month.  Some of the topics covered include economic factors driving changes in restaurant patronage, impact of health trends on overall patronage and by segment, changing demographic profiles of restaurant segment users, and numerous brand performance metrics. The research covers the quick-service, fast-casual, casual-dining, and fine-dining, and pizza-takeout segments in detail.

To learn more, call David Decker at (203) 504-7558 or send an email to

Consumer Edge Insight LLC is a market research and consulting firm that helps investors and companies that want to have deeper insight into how consumer behavior is changing around the world and how to profit from those changes. We help companies monitor key trends and develop strategies to enhance shareholder value.  For further information, visit