Ever wonder what makes a QSR a QSR? Speed of service is a classic defining characteristic, followed by inexpensiveness and food consistency. However, QSRs must go beyond these three traits in order to be successful in today’s competitive market.
The InMoment QSR Benchmark Report, which had more than 9,000 American consumers weigh in, showed some surprising—and some not-so surprising—secrets behind what truly makes a successful QSR brand. Read on for 5.5 of a dozen learnings we came across.
- Just One Thing Great Will Differentiate
None of the brands that ranked in the bottom 20 had a single high-performing driver to positively differentiate their experience. In fact, their overall scores were lower than 40%. Scoring above average on just one of the five top drivers we identified in our QSR consumer report statistically guarantees an overall score above the bottom 20.
The lesson for low-performers? Start with one key differentiator, rally around it, and build on it.
- Value Goes Beyond Inexpensive Price
While differentiating on price is well engrained in the QSR biz, our research confirmed that “value” is not as simple “inexpensiveness.” While digging around in the Value metric, we identified two distinct types of value brands: (1) those who serve above-average quality food at a “fair price” and (2) those who serve low-quality food for the lowest price.
While the two groups rated similarly on Value, those that also rated high on Food Quality rated much higher in overall satisfaction. Better quality food at a slightly higher price will leave guests thanking you for their better experience.
- The South Is Doubly Social
QSR guests in the South are recommending restaurants via social media roughly twice as often as those in other regions of the U.S. (~1 in 2 vs. ~1 in 5). Relatedly, snack and dessert-type QSRs were recommended on social media more frequently than other QSR types, falling in line with conclusions from a separate study that “Across all peers, the eating pattern most likely to be shared by socially connected individuals was ‘alcohol and snacks.’”
QSR snack brands should be aware of the social nature of their establishment and build the experience around it.
- Being Big Appears to Negatively Affect Perceptions
The inverse relationship found between a brand’s number of locations and its overall ranking in our study was hard to ignore. Evidence showed that big brands tend to be held to a different standard than smaller brands. The explanation for this phenomenon blends the operational struggles of large-scale service delivery with the psychosocial reticence of guests to award high overall marks to a larger “mainstream” brand.
Rather than seeing this simply as an excuse for low scores, large brands should focus on measuring the how closely guests behaviors align with survey responses.
- What Gender Gap? Order Accuracy Is Unisex
Believe it or not, when it comes to QSR preferences, the battle of the sexes is over. All attempts to drive a wedge between the two genders in this study failed miserably. Male or female, QSR preferences and expectations are much the same. There were certainly some faint clues of minor rifts here and there, but nothing so firm as the solidarity showed by the sexes around getting precisely what they ordered, how they ordered it.
Finally, a common ground for men and women! Order accuracy.
5.5. Secret Sauce of the Tip-Top QSR Brand When ranking brands from top to bottom, the difference between each spot usually came down to a percentage point or less. This largely the case for rankings by individual driver, as well—except for one notable (glaring, really) exception. This one exception looks a lot like an explanation of how the top brand was able to outperform the competition in other key areas.
To read more about the “secret sauce” and other QSR findings, download our consumer report, Positive Identification of Top QSR Characteristics.