When It Comes To Fast Food, Keep It Fast, Keep It Simple, And Keep It Cheap

LOS ANGELES , January 23, 2013 () – One of my favorite quick-service restaurant chains that my wife and I like to go to is Wendy’s. The reasons are very simple:

1) Good value. I’m one of those people who absolutely hate looking at a picture of a juicy bacon cheeseburger at a drive-thru window, order that bacon cheeseburger, and then am given something that barely resembles what I was looking at seconds ago.

2) Low prices. If I don’t have a lot of money to spend, Wendy’s has me covered with a litany of low-priced options.

3) Fast service. I have never encountered a faster drive-thru than Wendy’s. Those guys get you in and out. With all due respect to the biggest fast-food chain of them all—McDonald’s—there have been times where I’m waiting 5-7 minutes for my Big Mac. That’s not what I call “fast food.”

4) Convenience. Wendy’s locations are everywhere. In 2012, they overtook Burger King as the second-largest U.S. burger chain. I can think of four Wendy’s near me right off the top of my head.

According to a recent survey by Consumer Edge Insight, I’m not the only one who puts a priority on the reasons listed above when deciding which fast food to eat. According to the survey, 58% of U.S. consumers cited good value as the most important factor when picking a quick-service restaurant, followed by convenience (57%), low prices (53%) and fast service (51%).

An interesting note about this survey: Great-tasting food ranked just eighth in terms of importance for consumers. If that’s surprising to you, it shouldn’t be. Look, people aren’t stupid. When we go to our local Taco Bell, we’re not expecting gourmet cuisine. We want something that tastes as good as junk food. When I buy that Doritos Los Taco, just make sure it tastes decent, the price hasn’t been jacked up and I get it fast. That’s all I need.

Consumers think simplicity when it comes to fast food. That means businesses should too. Keep it fast, keep it simple, keep the prices low.

And the people will keep coming.

Nevin Barich is the Food & Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence Inc. When it comes to fast food, just make it fast and cheap. That will keep him happy. He can be reached at n.barich@industryintel.com

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