TORONTO – Burger chains top the list of most-visited quick-service restaurant categories, but sandwich shops leave customers most satisfied, according to research from Toronto-based Empathica, Inc.

Click the infographic to see how each quick-service restaurant category stacked up in the study.



Empathica’s 2013 Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Benchmark Study surveyed 10,000 US consumers on 62 top QSR brands to measure food, accuracy, service speed, atmosphere and staff and value. The findings are based on visits reported within a 30-day period and weighted against US Census data.

While pizza and pasta restaurants, chicken chains and coffee shops drew fewer visitors during the period, customers reported higher satisfaction at those establishments than at burger joints, which rated least satisfying across all categories.

“Overall satisfaction and the likelihood of a recommendation are key to customer loyalty, which is also the key to long-term QSR success,” said Gary Edwards, chief customer officer for Empathica. “It is great to get a customer to visit your restaurant, but the ultimate goal should be to provide that customer with a satisfying experience that motivates him or her — and his or her friends — to keep coming back through your doors.”

More males (62 percent) than females (58 percent) ate at a burger chain during the time period, and those with lower incomes (63 percent) reported more visits than higher earners (59 percent). Pizza and pasta restaurants attracted more 18- to 24-year-olds (42 percent) than 55- to 64-year-olds (28 percent).

“Different age groups prefer certain establishments, and knowing which markets are most and least likely to visit your QSR is valuable information for a restaurant,” Dr. Edwards said. “There are specific groups that a restaurant can rely on to drive traffic to their restaurant, and there are other groups that could be strategically targeted to maximize guest reach.”