The 2007 QSR® Consumer Survey reveals trends that could be used to better understand the future of the industry. The key is to determine which trends are fads and which will result in long-term changes in consumer behavior. Equally puzzling is trying to understand the differences between what consumers think, and how they behave.
Why and When They Visit
What drives consumers to quick-service? According to the majority of respondents, mood is the number-one driver, followed by the desire for convenience. Cost figured into the decision-making process, too. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said price factored into their decision to eat quick-service. Other contributing factors cited were taste, kids menu options; and food quality. Also mentioned were ratio of salads to burgers, choice in toppings and breads, and corporate policy.
The time of day when consumers eat at quick-serves has not changed considerably: nearly the same number of respondents indicated that they are most likely to eat lunch at a quick-service in 2007 (57 percent) as in 2006 (56 percent) and 2005 (58 percent). Although breakfast seems to be the current focus to generate new same-store business, those who are most likely to visit a quick-serve restaurant at breakfast did not change significantly either (8 percent in both 2006 and 2007, up from 6 percent in 2005). Since data suggests that business during the breakfast daypart is indeed growing in quick-serves, this might be our first indication that many consumers now might well be eating breakfast in addition to lunch—without a subsequent reflection of this change appearing in the survey. see chart 1