Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ya want Fries wit dat?

What did you have for lunch today? Have your eating habits changed? Take a look and compare:

Nearly Half of QSR Customers Cutting Back on Fast Food

A new study from Omnicom Group's M/A/R/C Research division confirms that nearly half (48%) of consumers who are quick-serve restaurant (QSR) customers have been cutting back on fast food in recent months as a result of economic pressures.

The online survey of more than 25,000 QSR customers, conducted during September, included consumers who have dined in the past month at QSRs in the burger, chicken, Mexican, pizza, sandwich and seafood categories. The survey covered all meals and snacks eaten at QSRs.

More females (56%) versus males (41%) reported that they had reduced their frequency of eating at QSRs over the past three months.

However, the economy has had no impact on QSR visits among 48% of the sample (50% of males, 37% of females).

Furthermore, 9% (9% of males, 7% of females) -- or nearly one in 10 -- has actually increased QSR visits.

Reasons cited for eating fast food less often included: eating at home to save money (84%); taking lunch to save money (35%); fast-food price increases have made it less affordable (26%); and higher ingredient prices have led to a decrease in the food's quality (13%).

Reasons cited for eating fast food more often included: QSRs are closer/more convenient than other restaurants and so save gas (45%); greater money-consciousness due to increased costs (43%); QSRs are cheaper than cooking at home (41%); QSR visits replacing casual and fine-dining restaurant visits (33%); and changed employment status causing cutbacks in spending (17%).

Among the majority who have changed their eating habits as a result of the economy, no significant differences were seen in regard to age, ethnicity or income level.

While the reduced visits of so many customers obviously pose challenges for QSRs, the economy-driven tendency of some to up their fast-food fare instead of visiting a casual-dining restaurant or eating at home presents a window of opportunity to capture share for QSRs, notes M/A/R/C VP Gwen Amador.

Most (78%) of those interviewed reported visiting QSRs 10 times or less during the past month, with 34% citing three to five visits and 25% citing six to 10. On the more frequent side, 17% reported 11 to 20 visits, and 5% reported 20 or more visits. About 19% said they had visited QSRs just one to two times during the past month.

The highest percentage of past-month QSR users (88%) had visited a restaurant in the burger category, followed by chicken (63%), sandwich and Mexican (each 51%), pizza (50%) and seafood (18%). The leaders in these respective categories are McDonald's, KFC, Subway, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Long John Silver's.

QSRs with the highest number of locations nationwide within their respective categories were found to have the highest usage.

(Source: Marketing Daily, 11/11/08)

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