QSR Chicken Sector Soars While Mexican Lags

Ted MarzilliCEO YouGov Direct
August 19, 2016, 6:46 PM GMT+0

Chicken QSR restaurants are flying high with fast food eaters while Mexican outlets are languishing, even when Chipotle is excluded.

Metrics show that the four major QSR categories divide into two groups: a cluster of hamburger, chicken and pizza QSRs competitive in purchase consideration and value perception measurements, and the Mexican group, scoring significantly lower on both metrics.

Quick serve chicken chains – led by Chick-Fil-A, KFC, Church’s and Boston Market – have enjoyed increasing levels of purchase consideration since April among fast food eaters. The group leads the other dining categories.

In the mature dining sector, where every percentage point carries great significance, the chicken QSR group inched up from 18% of fast food eaters who report considering the brands in that category the next time they’re out for fast food to 19%. In early April, chicken QSR’s eclipsed the hamburger group, which has been on a slight downward trend over the same time period. The hamburger group currently stands at 18%.

The pizza category holds the fast food eaters’ middle ground in purchase consideration, even though it has slowed down gradually since December. Peaking last Thanksgiving at 15% of consumers considering buying from a pizza QSR the next time they are out for fast food, that mark is now 14%. Domino’s and Little Caesar’s have contributed the most to the pizza category’s strength in the past year.

Comparatively, even without the troubled Chipotle chain, the Mexican QSR group has been further behind other types of chains in both potential revenue and value perception.

For the past 18 months, around 8% to 9% of fast food eaters reported that they'd consider purchasing from a Mexican QSR the next time they go out to buy fast food. That’s five percentage points below the nearest competitive group, pizza.

The one somewhat positive sign for the Mexican QSR group has been value perception – last September, those levels rose modestly and have remained steady since last Thanksgiving. However, it has shown no improvement since that time and is tracking at almost half the levels of the other QSR groups.

Purchase Consideration: QSR categories. Base: Frequent Fast Food Eaters

Purchase Consideration: QSR categories.  Base: Frequent Fast Food Eaters

Value: QSR categories. Base: Frequent Fast Food Eaters

Value: QSR categories.  Base: Frequent Fast Food Eaters