Study: Chicken Restaurants Struggle to Satisfy Customers


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Empathica’s 2013 QSR Benchmark data reveals brands in the QSR chicken
segment have a huge opportunity to improve overall experience and customer
perception of value.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada – December 19, 2013 – Empathica
Inc., a Mindshare Technologies company, releases
today the chicken brand findings from its 2013 Quick Service Restaurant
(QSR) Benchmark
Study, which
surveyed 10,000 U.S. consumers on their satisfaction rates for service,
taste, value and other factors (including social media engagement and
loyalty) across QSR segments.

The study found that many QSR chicken brands are struggling to satisfy
customers, with a market average high satisfaction rate of only 44 percent.

The top three brands in the segment achieving overall satisfaction rates at
50 percent or above:

– Chick-fil-A – 62 percent

– Wingstop – 55 percent

– El Pollo Loco – 50 percent

“QSR chicken brands have a major disparity between market leaders and those
performing below market average, with overall satisfaction rates ranging
from 28 to 62 percent across brands,” said Dr. Gary Edwards, chief customer
officer, Mindshare Technologies. “Getting to a deeper understanding of the
experience from the viewpoint of the customer is critical to determine where
improvements can be made – and which improvements will have the highest
impact. From what QSR chicken customers are saying, there is a major
opportunity for these brands to drive significant improvements in the
experience they are providing to stand out from the crowd.”

Findings show that only 47 percent of customers are highly likely to return
to or re-order from a QSR chicken brand based on their overall experience.
Customer satisfaction rates are highest when ordering carry out (44
percent), followed by drive thru (42 percent) and dine in (36 percent).

“Interestingly, customers of QSR chicken brands scored the dine in
experience the lowest of all of the channels, but this is the area where
brands have the greatest opportunity to make a positive impression on
customers given the time they are spending in the location,” added Edwards.
“Leading brands are taking the time to map the customer journey and
understand the key ‘moments of truth’ during each experience, and
determining where they can add the greatest value to separate themselves
from the competition.”

Chick-fil-A leads the market, but demonstrates opportunity to improve in key
demographic groups

Chick-fil-A customers are 42 percent more likely to be highly satisfied with
their overall experience than the average QSR chicken brand customer. The
brand also performs above all others for value, experience, likeliness to
return and likeliness to be recommended on social media. Females are 10
percent more likely to be satisfied with Chick-fil-A than men, indicating
room for the brand to grow in bringing a better experience to further their
appeal to other demographics.

Customers choose brands for taste, but taste satisfaction ranks low for many
brands The study shows that the number one reason customers choose a QSR
chicken brand is taste, however only 48 percent of customers stated that
“food tasted great” when asked to rate their experience. The leading brands
for highest percentage of customers highly satisfied with taste are
Chick-fil-A (58 percent), Popeyes Louisiana Chicken (56 percent) and Zaxby’s
(55 percent).

After “taste,” the reasons consumers choose different chicken QSRs vary a
great deal by brand:

– Boston Market, Chick-fil-A, Church’s Chicken and El Pollo Loco
customers look for Menu choice

– Bojangles, KFC, Wingstop and Zaxby’s customers choose based on the
convenience of these locations

– Popeyes Louisiana Chicken customers are driven by price

Customers aren’t happy with the value of QSR chicken brands

Findings show that customers want better value for their money, with only 37
percent of customers in this segment believing they receive good value for
what they pay.

“It isn’t always about price when it comes to value,” comments Edwards. “In
addition to great tasting chicken, speed, friendliness, taste, location,
cleanliness, and menu choice all play a role in consumers’ perception of
overall value. In order to deliver value in the eyes of the consumer, brands
must understand which of these elements of service mean the most to their
customers, in addition to great taste, and then elevate to a point of real
differentiation in executing against them.”

To receive 2013 Empathica Quick Service Restaurant Benchmark panel results
and reports, subscribe to

About the 2013 Empathica Quick Service Restaurant Benchmark Study:
The Empathica Quick Service Restaurant Benchmark Study launched in March
2013 and surveyed 10,000 US consumers on the top 62 QSR brands. The
Benchmark measured food, order accuracy, speed of service, staff, value,
cleanliness, atmosphere and menu for QSRs that customers had visited in the
past 30 days. The survey also gathered the drivers behind loyalty for a QSR
and for social media advocacy. Results, led by Dr. Gary Edwards and
Empathica’s research team, were published in July 2013. The Benchmark has
been weighted to reflect latest Census distributions in the U.S., including
region, gender, age and income.

About Empathica:
Empathica, a Mindshare Technologies company, is the leading provider of
social Customer Experience Management (CEM) programs to the world’s most
respected multi-unit brands in the retail, food services, automotive and
hospitality sectors. Empathica was acquired by Mindshare Technologies in
September, 2013. The company now has the largest set of restaurant
benchmarks in the CEM industry.

Annually, Empathica’s 30 million customer surveys in 25 languages reach more
than 80,000 locations in over 50 countries. A privately-held organization,
Empathica is headquartered in Toronto, Canada with executive consultant
offices throughout the United States and a European office in Birmingham,
England. For more information about deriving actionable insights that
enhance a brand’s operational excellence, visit Empathica at

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