Fast food favorites: New preferences emerge

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Not sure where to go for lunch? Market Force Information has new insights into America’s favorite quick-service restaurant chains in five areas: burgers, sandwiches, chicken, Mexican and pizza. The survey of 11,500 consumers also revealed dining habits and in-restaurant technology use.

Here’s a bit more food for thought: We eat out a lot. Of those surveyed, 46 percent had visited a burger fast-food or fast-casual restaurant at least five times in the previous 90 days. Mexican (37 percent), sandwich chains (32 percent), chicken (31 percent) and pizza (28 percent) also had plenty of repeat visitors.

There’s not much need for fancy dining rooms. It’s no surprise that more than half of pizza customers opt for takeout, but drive-through dominates most other categories. Only Mexican has more than four in 10 eating in the dining room.

Mobile apps and loyalty programs resonate with consumers. Technology to place orders is growing, with 39 percent saying they used smartphones to place an order. In 2015, just 11 percent reported doing so. Another 28 percent used a kiosk and 27 percent used a tablet to place their orders.

The competition from convenience stores is real. In fact, Wawa unseated Firehouse Subs as the top sandwich spot, jumping four spots along the way.

The favorites in each category:
Burgers
In-N-Out
Culver’s
Five Guys

Sandwiches
Wawa
Firehouse Subs
Jersey Mike’s

Mexican
Chipotle
El Pollo Loco
Moe’s Southwest Grill

Pizza
Pizza Ranch
Papa Murphy’s
Marco’s Pizza

Chicken
Chick-fil-A
Raising Cane
Zaxby’s/El Pollo Loco (tie)

©ISTOCK.COM/ROMAN TIRASPOLSKY

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