Boulder, CO (PRWEB) August 31, 2011
2011 has been a very good year for Five Guys Burgers and Fries, as it again tops consumers favorite quick-service restaurant (QSR) list, followed by In-N-Out Burger and Chick-fil-A, according to the annual consumer restaurant chain survey conducted by Market Force Information, a worldwide leader in customer intelligence and customer experience management solutions.
Five Guys earned the top spot in Market Forces annual study based on total votes earned per store, and is consistent with the firms rapid growth through exemplary customer service and popular food. It is notable that West Coast favorite, In-N-Out Burger, jumped into in the top three ranking this year as well. Like Five Guys, this chain is also known for its passionate patrons and relying on word of mouth to drive sales. The study also revealed that each of the top three excelled in friendly service the category with the most differentiation among all contenders.
More than 4,500 consumers across North America participated in the survey, which was conducted in August 2011. It examined which QSRs consumers prefer and which attributes are the most important to them. Market Force first calculated the favorites based on pure number of votes, and then factored in the number of locations for each chain for a more level view of the results.
Study Adjusts for Total Number of Restaurants
When the consumers were shown a list of the countrys 55 top quick serve franchise restaurants* and asked to select their single favorite, Chick-fil-A received the highest number of votes, with 10.4% of the more than 4,500 total responses. Panera Bread came in second with 9.9% and Five Guys ranked a close third with 9.1%. See Graph 1. These standings show a shift when compared to Market Forces 2010 restaurant industry survey in which Panera Bread and Subway received the highest and second highest number of votes.
Five Guys Gets Top Billing for Votes per Restaurant Location
However, this first set of data only tells part of the story. While Chick-fil-A has more than 1,500 U.S. locations and Panera Bread has more than 1,300, Five Guys has less than half that number. Since consumers are only likely to vote for restaurants they visit, Market Force indexed the results to account for the number of restaurant locations per chain to see which would dominate.
When the votes were indexed, Five Guys was consumers clear favorite, earning 7.2% of the total. In-N-Out Burger, also a more regionally-based chain, rose to second with 5.9%, while Chick-fil-A dropped to third with 4.1% and Panera Bread landed in fourth with 4.1%. Coming in at No. 13 and No. 14 each earning .1% of the votes were Subway and Burger King. See Graph 2.
Which Restaurants Reigned Supreme by Attribute?
Market Force attempted to uncover why respondents prefer one QSR over another by asking respondents to rate them by attributes such as food quality, taste, speed of service, cleanliness and value. See Graph 3. Friendly service was the category with the most differentiation, and it was no surprise that Chick-fil-A, In-N-Out Burger and Five Guys dominated. The least variation was found in the taste category, which suggests that consumers see the most differentiationand valuein those restaurants with the best service and friendliness.
While consumer-favorite Five Guys didnt dominate any of the categories, it performed consistently well across most of them. Similarly, In-N-Out Burgers scored highest in food quality and second highest in friendly service and value. Other chains were less consistent. For example, McDonalds scored poorest for quality of food, but ranked second for speed of service behind Sonic. Similarly, Taco Bell was lowest in cleanliness, but highest in overall value.
Other Ways QSRs Differentiate
The chains showed greater differentiation among other attributes, including healthy choices, accommodating children, atmosphere and green/sustainable practices. The results mapped back in interesting ways to each chains brand positioning. For example, Panera Bread came out ahead on atmosphere and second for healthy choices, while Subway took the highest score for healthy choices. Interestingly, McDonalds scored very low in the healthy choices category, despite its recent emphasis on healthy meal choices, but did rank highly on being kid-friendly. Chick-fil-A was called out as the most kid-friendly, and Chipotle ranked through the roof for its green/sustainable practices. See Graph 4.
Charting QSRs on The Delight Index
In a related Market Force survey, 3,300 consumers were asked to rate their last experience eating at any QSR. Market Force analyzed the data to develop a Consumer Delight Index revealing the intersection between the likelihood of recommending the QSR to friends/family and overall satisfaction. On this index, Five Guys once again emerged in first place with 4.68%, Panera Bread followed close behind with 4.6% and Chipotle came in third with 4.5%. Consumers were apparently less delighted with McDonalds and Burger King among the top 15 contenders, as they scored lowest and second lowest on the index, respectively. See Graph 5.
The pool of survey respondents ranged in age from 18 to more than 70 and reflected a broad spectrum of income levels, with 62 percent reporting incomes of more than $ 50,000 a year. Seventy six percent were women, the primary household consumer purchasers. Half of the participants said they have children at home.
For more information on Market Forces customer intelligence solutions for the restaurant industry, visit http://www.marketforce.com/industries/qsr-quick-serve-restaurants
About Market Force Information
Market Force Information, Inc. is the leading global customer intelligence solutions company for business-to-consumer companies including major retailers, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, financial institutions, entertainment studios and consumer packaged goods companies. Market Force Information has pioneered the industry with a suite of customer intelligence solutions that provide clients with the business intelligence they need to delight their customers and drive bottom-line results. The company measures store-level operations and customer attitudes through mystery shopping, customer feedback, market audits and merchandising services, with the analytics to drive targeted improvements. For more information, please visit: http://www.marketforce.com and follow us on Twitter @MarketForce.
List of 55 obtained from QSR Magazine; included all with 2% or more responses.