Value in Quick Service Restaurants: It's Not Just About Price

Mar 7, 2024

Value in QSR Dining - Family Enjoying a meal
Value in QSR Dining - Family Enjoying a meal

The concept of "value" is often mistakenly reduced to a simple equation of price versus benefits. However, in the cutthroat world of quick-service restaurants (QSRs), consumer decisions are far more nuanced. To gain a competitive edge, QSR brands need to understand what truly drives value perception for their customers.

Quality: The Cornerstone of Value in QSR

Our analysis of real consumer voices through reveals a surprising insight: the taste and quality of food often outweigh price as a determining factor in QSR selection. As one consumer states:

"The factors that are important to me when deciding on a fast food restaurant to eat at, the very first one is quality of the food. It has to be good quality food, there's no point going out to eat and getting garbage. So, it's gotta be good quality food. It's gotta be something I enjoy." – Male, 45-64

This sentiment highlights the importance of offering fresh, well-prepared, and consistently delicious meals. QSRs must prioritize ingredients and execution to meet the rising consumer demand for quality.

Age Matters: Shifting Priorities Across Demographics

While delicious food seems universally desired, our research indicates that specific priorities shift depending on a consumer's age. Older demographics, particularly those with families, become understandably more price-conscious:

“The price is if there's something that the kids would like to eat, and is it something that everybody in the family can eat, so that we can all do one place and be done, not have to go to multiple places.” – Female, 45-64

Large families often face higher costs for dining out. They may also be more likely to seek out restaurants with wider menu options to accommodate diverse tastes. This underscores the need for QSRs to consider family-oriented promotions, combo meals, or a diverse selection that appeals to multiple age groups within a family.

The Power of Data-Driven Insights

Understanding these nuances in value perception is critical for QSR success. Platforms like empower QSR brands to delve beyond surface-level assumptions and uncover actionable insights based on real consumer feedback. Unlocking this deeper understanding of value can help QSRs:

  • Sharpen Marketing Messages: Tailor communication to highlight quality ingredients, freshness, and flavor profiles that resonate with the target audience.

  • Optimize Pricing: Develop value-driven pricing strategies that cater to both budget-conscious and quality-seeking segments.

  • Innovate Menus: Identify opportunities to introduce new menu items or promotions that align with evolving consumer preferences across different age groups.

Watch this post in Action, led by Head of Research, Catrin Williams.

Gain a competitive edge by understanding the true drivers of customer value.

Brands Mentioned

Since this blog focuses on  general consumer trends in the QSR space,  no specific QSR brands are directly mentioned.  However, insights in this post apply to brands across the industry.

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