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Customers become loyal to quick-service brands because of the value they offer, convenience, low prices and speedy service.
This is according to a recent survey of U.S. restaurant customers facilitated by Restaurant DemandTracker, a syndicated consumer research service from Consumer Edge Insight. Broken down, value tops consumer preferences at 58 percent, followed closely by convenience (57 percent), low prices (53 percent) and fast service (51 percent).
Great-tasting food is No. 8 on the loyalty-driving factor list.
The survey also examined consumers' perceptions of different restaurant brands based on numerous attributes. Those with the strongest perceptions for providing "good value" were: McDonald's, 57 percent; Subway, 53 percent; and Taco Bell, 48 percent.
For convenience, McDonald's topped the list at 68 percent, followed by Taco Bell and Burger King, each at 50 percent.
The brands with the strongest perceptions for fast service were McDonald's (64 percent), Taco Bell (56 percent), Subway (55 percent) and Burger King and Wendy's, both at 55 percent.
The top-scoring brands for great-tasting food were Subway (58 percent), Chick-fil-A (54 percent) and Wendy's (48 percent).
Visit satisfaction higher at smaller chains
Despite scoring high for value and convenience, McDonald's customers had the lowest overall satisfaction score (22 percent) among those who visited a restaurant within the past three months. McDonald's nonetheless enjoys among the highest Intent to Visit Again scores, with 64 percent of visitors saying they are "extremely likely" to visit again. Only Subway and Chick-fil-A have higher Intent to Visit Again scores, 68 percent and 67 percent, respectively.
The highest satisfaction scores among past three-month visitors were: Chick-fil-A (66 percent), Long John Silver (56 percent), and Whataburger (54 percent).
"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 second-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."
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