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Second Helpings

Building consumer loyalty in the fast service and casual dining restaurant sector


So what is the state of brand loyalty within the fast service and casual dining restaurant sector? In answering this question, Deloitte’s Travel, Hospitality, and Leisure practice performed extensive consumer loyalty research, surveying more than 4,000 patrons of fast service and casual dining restaurants. As part of this research, we conducted two in-depth focus groups with frequent visitors to these restaurants. We asked a number of questions that aim to assess restaurant consumer attitudes and behaviors.

The recurring theme of our analysis and focus group research is this: A few basic things matter the most in driving restaurant brand loyalty, but those are not the only things that matter. The recipe for genuine brand loyalty is far more nuanced. The paths that bring customers closer to that indispensable feeling that “This brand is my brand, and I will not go anywhere else” are indeed generous in their variability.

Some findings include:

  • You’ve captured their attention. Less so, their wallets.
  • Your core customers connect with your food, not so much your brand and people.
  • It isn’t rocket science. A few things matter most to everyone.
  • Loyalty programs have not exactly set the world on fire.  But do your most-frequent customers belong to your program?
  • Those best customers who do join your loyalty program tend to be more loyal than those who do not.
  • Your core customers like your restaurant. But they don’t live there. And they don’t want to be your best friends forever.

In Second helpings: Building consumer loyalty in the fast service and casual dining restaurant sector, we report on the current state of loyalty in the fast service and casual dining sector. We discuss strategic imperatives for fast service and casual dining restaurants to consider as they endeavor to strengthen loyalty and the effectiveness of their loyalty program initiatives.

Take a deeper dive into our restaurant loyalty survey by downloading our full set of PowerPoint findings.

As used in this document, 'Deloitte' means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

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