Empathica Inc., a global provider of Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions, released a second round of results from its 2013 Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Benchmark Study, which surveyed 10,000 U.S. consumers on the 62 top QSR brands. The study measured food, order accuracy, speed of service, menu, restaurant atmosphere and cleanliness, staff and value.
The study shows that ranking by frequency of visits does not necessarily reflect ranking by key customer satisfaction areas.
The most visited QSR categories were burger concepts (60 percent), followed by sandwich concepts (41 percent); pizza/pasta (33 percent); chicken (30 percent); snack/coffee (26 percent); Mexican (24 percent); and Asian/seafood (12 percent).
Conversely, the highest customer satisfaction scores were generated at sandwich concepts, 52 percent. This was followed by snacks/coffee (51 percent); Mexican (49 percent); chicken and pizza/pasta (tied at 48 percent); and Asian/seafood (43 percent).
The burger category generated the lowest overall customer satisfaction rating, at 42 percent. Additionally, the smallest percentage of customers (38 percent) is likely to recommend burger chains to others.
Sandwich chain visitors, on the other hand, left most satisfied after their experience (52 percent) and, therefore, these visitors were most likely to recommend the establishment to a friend or family member (45 percent strongly agreed that they would recommend these establishments).
"Overall satisfaction and the likelihood of a recommendation are key to customer loyalty, which is also the key to long term QSR success," said Dr. Gary Edwards, chief customer officer, Empathica. "It is great to get a customer to visit your restaurant, but the ultimate goal should be to provide that customer with a satisfying experience that motivates him or her – and his or her friends – to keep coming back through your doors."
Gaps in marketing and loyalty
Also, Empathica's data covered demographic breakdowns of QSR customers.
Both genders and all income levels cited burger chains as the top QSR visited in the past 30 days, males (62 percent) made more visits than females (58 percent), while individuals with lower incomes (63 percent) made more visits than those with higher incomes (59 percent).
The income level data contradicts Gallup's research released earlier this week, which showed that wealthier Americans — those earning $75,000 or more a year — are more likely to eat at a QSR at least once a week (51 percent) than are lower-income groups.
Empathica's data also shows that women have a stronger preference for pizza/pasta and snack/coffee than men do.
A significant age difference is also found in preference for pizza and pasta restaurants. While 42 percent of 18 to 24 year olds visited pizza and pasta QSRs in the past 30 days, only 28 percent of 55 to 64 year olds reported a visit. According to the data, visits to pizza/pasta establishments are less frequent as age increases. This gap shows which markets pizza and pasta restaurants should target for customer loyalty, as well as what groups could use a push from marketing and advertising efforts.
"Different age groups prefer certain establishments, and knowing which markets are most and least likely to visit your QSR is valuable information for a restaurant. There are specific groups that a restaurant can rely on to drive traffic to their restaurant, and there are other groups that could be strategically targeted to maximize guest reach," Edwards said.
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