Size Matters: InMoment’s Fast Food Benchmark Study Proves It

SALT LAKE CITY (July 29, 2015) — InMoment™, a cloud-based customer experience (CX) optimization platform that gives companies the ability to listen to and engage with customers to improve business results recently conducted a benchmark study of thousands of U.S. consumers regarding their attitudes toward fast food restaurants.

One of the most interesting findings was a significant disparity between how large brands rank compared to small and mid-sized quick service restaurants (QSR).

Is Big, Bad?

Large brands were represented disproportionately at the bottom of the rankings with satisfaction levels of 39 percent and below, including: Subway, McDonald’s, and Burger King. On the other hand, nearly all the brands in the top echelon were smaller to mid-sized (fewer than 2,000 locations), including In-n-out, Whataburger and Chick-Fil-A.

Other Findings

  • Lower Overall: Consistent with the recently American Customer Satisfaction Index of Restaurants study, InMoment’s research also found a drop in satisfaction levels across the entire QSR category, even the top performers.
  • Satisfaction Skews Toward Experience: Consumers crave more than quick and cheap from fast food restaurants, as the top-ranked satisfaction drivers prove:
    1. Food
    2. Staff
    3. Atmosphere
    4. Speed of service
    5. Menu selection
  • Hope for the Laggards: None of the brands that placed in the bottom 20 had even a single high-performing driver to positively differentiate the customer experience. However, the research also showed that every brand that scored above average in just one of the top five satisfaction drivers managed to stay out of the bottom third. In other words, customers reward brands that deliver on what they care about most.
  • Value Getting More Complex: Respondents identified value as above average quality food at a fair price and low quality food at the lowest price.
  • Southern Hospitality Extends to Social: QSR guests in Southern states are twice as likely to recommend restaurants via social media compared to guests in other regions of the United States.
  • Gender Equality: While men are from Mars and women from Venus, when it comes to QSR preferences, male and female likes are virtually the same, especially when it comes to getting what they ordered, how they ordered it.

“Speed of service, cost and food consistency were once guarantees for success in the fast food industry, but that’s not enough anymore,” said John Sperry, Co-Founder and CEO of InMoment. “Companies in every industry are focusing more on customer experience. As a result, expectations are rising across the board, including fast food. Brands that want to stay competitive need to change the way they do business, listening and taking to heart what their customers say, and focusing relentlessly on the distinct characteristics that delight their customers and make them stand out.”


The InMoment Consumer Insights Panel conducts regular research and benchmarking studies of leading consumer brands in North America. For the past five years, the voices of thousands of diverse consumers have formed the foundation of key economic and industry indicators.

For this study, InMoment’s data scientists asked a pool of more than 9,000 American consumers to share their views on the nation’s top 62 quick service restaurant (QSR) brands. The study was weighted to reflect U.S. Census distributions, and tracks a variety of factors, including trends, drivers and attitudes.

The score used to determine brand ratings in the benchmark study is called Percent Delighted (%D). It is InMoment’s own composite loyalty index and is based on more than a decade of Voice of the Customer experience. By combining multiple key indicators, we arrive at a score that not only reflects current performance; it projects a likelihood of maintaining success in the future.

For more information about InMoment visit

EDITORS’ NOTE: Infographic and full copy of the report available by contacting Jeremy Kartchner at

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