With the concern over inflation and gas prices being so high, it’s no surprise that U.S. adults are becoming more price sensitive. CivicScience continues to track consumer concern and how it impacts purchasing decisions, such as fast food consumption. Check out these emerging trends and opportunities that all QSR marketers should keep an eye on, highlighted in our latest industry report linked below.

1. Market Trends

Fast food diners are feeling their wallets being pinched. Nearly nine out of ten fast food patrons have noticed price increases on menu items, and more than half (56%) have recently stopped themselves from purchasing as a result of heightened prices.

QSR patronage is also likely being indirectly impacted by high gas prices, as CivicScience data show a close correlation between drive time and food consumption (see full report below.)

2. Diner Traits and Preferences

There are some key differences in traits between those that dine most at fast food establishments and fast casual restaurants. Here are just a few:

Fast food diners

  • Price-conscious
  • Active Facebook users
  • City dwellers

Fast casual diners 

  • Attend sporting events
  • Charitable donors
  • Concerned about environmental issues

3. Emerging Trends

Despite increases in prices and fees, online delivery services, such as Grubhub, are still growing in popularity. In fact, online food delivery services saw a 12% increase in popularity since 2021 and a 68% increase since 2020. The data also show that frequent fast food / casual diners are much more likely to be online food delivery customers.

However, as price sensitivity continues to increase, QSR diners are also adjusting how they make purchases, such as looking for more value menu items, among other behaviors.

Want to see more insights? Download the full QSR Industry Insight Report here.