J.D. Power and Associates has released a report that includes satisfaction rankings for restaurant chains in 10 U.S. markets in three segments: casual, family and quick service.
In each segment, four factors drive overall customer satisfaction with restaurants (listed in order of importance):
- Service (including timeliness of order and wait staff courtesy and friendliness);
- Meal (including quality/taste of food, meal presentation and portion size); and
- Environment (including ambiance, cleanliness and convenience of location/hours).
The study finds that, among casual and family restaurant brands, the importance of service and environment, combined, outweigh the importance of price as a driver of overall satisfaction. Among quick service restaurant chains, service and environment are equally as important as price.
Overall satisfaction in the 10 markets included averages 742 on a 1,000-point scale among customers at casual restaurants, 708 among family restaurant customers and 700 among quick service restaurant customers. Quick service restaurants are defined as establishments offering inexpensively priced food that is ordered at a register or selected from a food bar. Meals are paid for before being served to the customer.
Among quick service restaurants, Chick-fil-A ranks highest in three markets. Chipotle Mexican Grill, and In-N-Out Burger each rank highest in two markets. Also receiving awards in their respective markets are Culver’s, Panera Bread and Papa Murphy's Take N Bake Pizza.
Satisfaction rates travel – especially online. According to the J.D. Power Web Intelligence Division, main themes of social media conversation about quick service restaurants vary widely by demographic group. For example, Teens (ages 14 to 18) and Early Careerists (ages 22 to 29) are most apt to discuss the convenience of these establishments, while Gen Y moms are most inclined to discuss the quality of quick service restaurants. Among Gen X moms and Boomers, the predominant theme of discussion centers around providing themselves and their families with a treat or reward by visiting a quick service restaurant. For all five demographic groups, McDonald’s is the quick service restaurant chain that garners the greatest volumes of online discussion.