At Fast Food and Full-Service Restaurants, Customer Satisfaction Remains Stable

Americans are largely satisfied with the service they get at fast food and full-service restaurants, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index’s 2018-2019 Restaurant Report, despite the many changes currently influencing the industry. The overall industry customer satisfaction score inched down to 78.9, dropping by less than one percent. 

“These are mature industries that have been doing what they’re doing for a long time and they’ve been successful. To have these scores from a service industry is proof that the two restaurant categories are good at what they do,” David VanAmburg, Managing Director at the ACSI, said in a statement.

As convenience-focused and health conscious millennials drive the industry to consider healthier menus and more seamless ordering mechanisms, restaurants are responding accordingly. Not only have restaurants introduced plant-based burgers, locally-sourced ingredients and fresh produce, but they’ve also invested in mobile apps, digital kiosks, tableside ordering, and mobile-order pick-up areas. 

There are other factors that restaurants can’t quite control, however, such as hiring challenges and declining patronage. “The restaurant industry faces challenges in everything from staffing shortages to competition from other vendors, like prepared foods from grocers and convenience stores,” VanAmburg said. “Overall, foot traffic continues to decline, and restaurants are seeking to grow sales by relying on guests spending more per visit. Restaurants that focus on changing consumer tastes and preferences, however, could see the biggest boost in customer satisfaction.”

Still, despite the obstacles, full service restaurant Texas Roadhouse came out on top in the full-service category, scoring an 83 out of 100, while Chick-Fil-A continued to dominate on the fast food side, scoring an 86. One nuance that emerged this year, however, was the rising popularity—and satisfaction with—takeout. “[Our] data show that for the full-service [restaurant] segment, diners who order food for delivery are far more satisfied (83) than those who dine in (79). As such, catering and delivery spaces are likely to become even more competitive,” the ACSI’s report stated.   

 

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