Australian fast food ‘emma’ survey findings released

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 17th March 2014
Fast food outlets are top of the list for Australians' out of home dining options

Australians love to dine out as much as they love their takeaway, especially on fast food, with more than half the population visiting a major fast food chain in the past month, according to a new Out of Home Dining report released 11 March 2014. The report also ranks Australia’s fast food chains.

The ‘emma’ (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia) Out of Home Dining report found that Australians averaged four visits a month to fast food chains such as McDonald’s, KFC and Subway, equating to more than 51 million visits a month.

Most popular fast food chains

McDonald’s topped the list as the most popular fast food brand among Australians, with 42 per cent of Australians visiting a McDonald’s restaurant in the past four weeks. It was followed by Subway (29 per cent), KFC (23 per cent), Hungry Jack’s (16 per cent) and Domino’s Pizza (11 per cent).

Australians were also loyal to their fast food choices, with 40 per cent limiting fast food visits to one or two brands a month. The number of consumers willing to consider eating at Subway was much higher than those who actually visit the chain, with 52 per cent of fast food consumers considering it, but only 29 per cent purchasing. McDonald’s led on conversion, with 42 per cent considering the fast food chain and 39 per cent purchasing.

Takeaway more popular at fast food chains

While 81 per cent of Australians will eat out at least once a month, more than half of those eating out will visit fast food chains or Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs). Takeaway was also more popular than eating in at fast food chains, with 30.5 million takeaway visits and 21 million eat-in visits each month.

It was cafes, however, that dominated as the most popular venues to eat out, with 59 per cent of Australians visiting cafes at least once a month.

Young people heaviest users of dining out and takeaway

“Perhaps not surprisingly, it is young people, aged between 14 and 29, that are heaviest users of dining out and takeaway option, with 86 per cent saying they eat out once a month,” said Simon Wake, Ipsos MediaCT Managing Director. “And they prefer Quick Service Restaurants, with McDonald’s, Subway and KFC topping their preferred brands. One fifth of them eat fast food once a week,” he said.

“Interestingly, less that one fifth of young people feel confident about cooking and only 14 per cent will make an effort to get right nutrition at every meal,” Mr Wake said.

The gender split was balanced, with 51 per cent of fast food consumers being male and 49 per cent female.

Motivations for fast food choice

The ‘emma’ study also mapped Australian’s perceptions of why they chose a particular fast food chain, and uncovered three key drivers of choice: health, taste, price and convenience.

Price and convenience was the most popular choice, with two thirds of the population choosing a fast food chain for this reason alone. Taste was only ranked as a key choice by 8 per cent of people, while being a healthy choice was important for 28 per cent.

“There is also a clear correlation between eating out and takeaway and income, with higher income earners eating out more frequently,” Mr Wake said. “But this is not the case with Quick Service Restaurants, which attract all levels of income earners and are also the favourite takeaway option across all income brackets,” he said.

Students, sales people and labourers were the heaviest users of Quick Service Restaurants, and McDonald’s, Subway and KFC were the most popular. Those who were younger, loved going out, attending sporting events, as well as those who identified as  a shopper or a gambler, ate out at QSRs more frequently than the rest of the population.

‘emma’ survey technique

The ‘emma’ report is a new cross-platform audience insights survey for newspaper and magazines across print, website, mobile and tablet. The survey was developed for The Readership Works (TRW) by independent research company Ipsos MediaCT, which conducts national audience surveys and is the official measurement system in 41 countries including the UK, Italy and France.

Using sophisticated survey techniques, ‘emma’ will interview 54,000 people a year, seven days a week. There is also an agreement with Nielsen Online Ratings to fuse its data with the ‘emma’ data.