QSR Breakfast Consumers Are A Complicated Bunch

When it comes to breakfasting at quick-serve restaurants, even marketers who’ve tackled this segment in the past may not fully understand all the emotional, as well as more basic, factors that play into consumer behavior. 

Beyond “surface” needs, such as quality, price and location, QSR breakfast consumers express needs that include empowerment, engagement, and desires for a frictionless experience and getting “the best deal” (value for their money, regardless of the price point), according to a new report based on consumer behavior analysis, from mobile platform supplier Aki Technologies. 

The research identified five cohorts, each of which has different drivers calling for a different marketing/messaging strategy:

* Get the Job Done: This group is made up of millennials (single and/or young parents) living in suburban and urban areas, who are always on the go and time-challenged. While they make more than the U.S. median household income, they aren’t considered wealthy. They tend to stick with a single QSR brand.

The optimum strategy for approaching this group is to affirm their decision to stick with one brand, stressing that it’s inexpensive without sacrificing taste, as well as easy to find and designed for easy ordering, according to the analysis. 

* Taking My Sweet Time: Older, less-educated, retired seniors, primarily residing in suburban and rural areas.

The strategy here is to focus on convincing these consumers, who tend to visit various chains, that one brand can meet all their breakfast needs. Messages/value statements should focus on the brand’s offering a classic American breakfast with a great price, as well as being easy to find and offering easy ordering. In addition, this group values being able to craft or tailor their own experiences. 

*Wealthy/Health Conscious: These consumers are middle-aged, better-educated, and reside primarily in suburban and urban areas.

The strategic challenge is converting them from healthier formats, such as fast casuals and coffee shops. Ideally, messaging should stress the brand’s ethical sourcing and sustainable practices; its “healthy and compromise-free” options; and its convenient service and speedy service.

*Coffee Shop Groupies: This group comprises millennials and younger Gen X-ers -- skewing to females -- with significant disposable income, living in suburban and urban areas.

Obviously, the challenge is convincing them to start buying coffee or breakfast at a QSR brand, rather than their favorite coffee shops. The messaging needs to stress the availability of offerings “fresh to your taste,” and premium drinks without the premium prices.

*Eat at Home/No Breakfast: These are wealthier individuals who normally eat at home. They tend to be older and well-educated.

Here, marketers need to create occasions that can lure consumers out of their homes to one of the QSR brand’s locations. Messaging should stress that the food is made fresh and to order, per the customer’s tastes, convenient locations, and speedy service. 

Among other insights uncovered: QSR sit-down visitors tend to be either younger than 24 or older than 55, and to skew toward the lower-income brackets; consumers who’ve completed graduate school are 3.8% less likely to eat at QSRs; and college graduates are 2% more likely to visit coffee shops. 

The report can be downloaded free from Aki’s site.

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