Australia’s fast food choices analysed by Roy Morgan

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 26th March 2014
McDonald's is still Australia's favourite fast food chain

Quick and easy lunch choice or affordable treat for the whole family — fast food is as popular as ever among Australians, according to the latest findings from market research organisation Roy Morgan Research.

In 2013, more than half the population (just over 55 per cent) of Australians visited at least one fast food restaurant in an average four-week period, for either takeaway or to dine in. McDonald’s was the clear favourite, visited by three out of ten Australians.

Brand loyalty “crucial” to success

But there is more to this popularity contest than the percentage of Australians visiting in any given four-week period, according to Roy Morgan Research. A fast-food chain’s ability to keep its customers coming back is key to its continued success. Whether this is the result of more varied menu choices, greater convenience or better taste, McDonald’s topped the list for highest average number of visits per customer as well as total number of customers.

With its customers paying around 2.7 visits in an average four weeks, McDonald’s has a convincing lead over Subway (2.3 visits), Hungry Jack’s (2.2) and Nando’s (2). Despite having the second-highest total customer count, KFC only managed fifth position for average visitation.

“The supremacy of McDonald’s in terms of total customers and average visitation rate isn’t especially surprising,” said Warren Reid, Group Account Manager. “Not only is its menu is extremely affordable, but many of its 900-plus Australian restaurants offer drive-through, extended opening hours and/or playgrounds for the kids. In today’s time-poor society, such ease and convenience is a real drawcard,” he said.

“Brand loyalty is crucial in any industry, with fast food being no exception,” Mr Reid said. “Ironically, it’s the very convenience of so many fast food restaurants that means customers don’t stay absolutely loyal to one particular chain,” he said.

Loyalty metrics and multi-visit rates

Of all the fast food chains in the top 10, Roy Morgan Research found that McDonalds’ customers were the least likely to have visited competitor chains while at the opposite end of the spectrum, Oporto customers had visited more fast food outlets than any other chain’s customers in an average 4 weeks.

“Subway also does well in enticing its customers back for multiple visits — no surprise, really, considering it won the Quick Service Restaurant of the Year award in the 2013 Roy Morgan Research Customer Satisfaction Awards,” Mr Reid said. “This is a chain that knows how to keep its customers satisfied,” he said.

“The ability to identify these high-frequency customers allows a fast-food chain to target and refine its marketing campaigns more effectively, with the aim of instilling brand loyalty in this extremely competitive industry,” Mr Reid said.

Other recent study

Australian Food News recently reported another study, which produced similar results.