CHICAGO – The NPD Group found that major quick-service hamburger restaurants are starting to offer more combo meal deals and consumers are responding positively.

After several years of decline during the recession, combo meal visits rose by one percent at quick-service hamburger restaurants in the 12-month period ending February 2016 compared to the same period of time the previous year.

Customization had become the trend at fast-food restaurants, but market demand has now shifted back in favor of combo meals, according to NPD.

Over the past six months, one chain after another has introduced value-based combo meals that offer choices. Wendy’s introduced a 4 for $4 Meal, McDonald’s launched the McPick 2 for $2 offering and then changed the offer to 2 for $5 with a different product offering. Burger King followed suit with a 5 for $4 deal, and some other QSR chains have added a value proposition of one kind or another to their menu. 

“This once again suggests that given the right promotional offer at the right time, dealing can generate positive traffic growth,” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst and author of the recently released report, Value Wars: A New Twist on Combo Meal Deals.  “The response also points to the importance consumers place on the ability to customize and have choices.” 

Combo meals purchased at lunch and dinner rose from a rate of 6 percent in the year ending February 2015 to 8 percent in the year ending February 2016. This increase resulted in an additional 110 million combo meal deal orders, pushing the total to 686 million orders.