Show Me the Deal: YA Survey Shows Consumers Flock to Quick-Service Restaurants When there are Discounts and Offers Involve

–More than Three-Quarters of Respondents Would Go to a Restaurant if it Offered a Discount —

–Mobile Apps Top Choice for Learning About Deals –

— Consumers who are Younger or More Affluent Most Likely to Take Advantage of Apps —

— Largest Percentage of Respondents Take Advantage of App Deals at Least 10 Times/Year – 

Minneapolis, May 18, 2017 – A recent study by YA, an industry market leader in delivering high-impact omni-channel marketing promotions for the nation’s most respected brands, shows that discount programs for quick service restaurants (QSRs) are highly effective in changing consumer behavior.

In the March 2017 survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, 76 percent said they’d try a QSR they’ve never been to if it offered a discount on their current order, and 69 percent said they’d be likely to try a QSR if they’d get a discount on a future order. In addition, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) said they’d visit a restaurant new to them if they received a “refer a friend” discount.

“In the highly competitive QSR field, restaurants that make discount offers part of their core marketing program are able to increase loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals,” said YA Vice President of Mobile Sales Mark Shelley. “Getting new customers in the door is the first step in creating long-term brand advocates.”

The survey also shows missed opportunity when it comes to mobile applications (Apps) that offer QSR deals. While just over one-quarter (28 percent) of respondents said they had at least one QSR App on their mobile device, nearly half (43 percent) said a QSR App would incent them to visit a restaurant more often. And of those who do have an App, the highest percentage of respondents (31 percent) say they take advantage of offers 10 times or more per year.

Interestingly, when analyzing the demographics of QSR App users, younger consumers and those who have higher household incomes are the heaviest users.

Thirty-Seven percent of respondents who had a household income of between $100,000 and $149,999 have at least one QSR app, and 42 percent of those who make $150,000 or more use a QSR App.

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In terms of ages, respondents aged 25-34 have the highest QSR App usage at 37 percent, followed by those aged 18-24 at 30 percent. Only 8 percent of those 65 and older have a QSR App.

The top reason to use a QSR App, according to the study, is to get personalized rewards (29 percent), followed by getting today’s deal (25 percent). For those who are between the ages of 35 and 44, the top reason to use a QSR App is to order food for delivery.

“It’s very common for people in their late 30s and early 40s to have dual incomes and young kids at home, and delivered food is a convenience for which they’re willing to pay,” said Shelley. “As such, marketing promotions programs that segment audiences to cater to their life situations can be very successful.”

The survey also shows affinity for mobile applications, as QSR Apps are the top way respondents say they want to receive information, followed by instant rebates and newspaper coupons.

About the Survey

YA commissioned the survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults in March 2017.

Survey Responses

  1. How likely would you be to try a QSR you’ve never been to if it offered a discount on your current order?
  • Very likely –  37 percent
  • Somewhat likely – 39 percent
  • Neither likely or unlikely –  14 percent
  • Somewhat unlikely – 6 percent
  • Not at all likely – 4 percent


  1. How likely would you be to try a QSR you’ve never been to if it offered a discount on a future order?
  • Very likely –  28 percent
  • Somewhat likely –  41 percent
  • Neither likely nor unlikely –  21 percent
  • Not likely – 6 percent                        
  • Not at all likely  –  5 percent


  1. How likely would you be to try a QSR you’ve never been to if it offered discounts or free food if you referred a friend?
    • Very likely 30 percent
    • Somewhat likely 34 percent
    • Neither likely nor unlikely 21 percent
    • Not likely    8percent                         
    • Not at all likely    7 percent


  1. To what extent would you agree with the following: “I would participate in a QSR program that allowed me to collect points for free items on future visits” (e.g. Visit us 5 times and your 6th meal is free)
  • Agree strongly –  40 percent
  • Somewhat agree –  38 percent
  • Neither agree nor disagree –  14 percent
  • Disagree to some extent – 5 percent
  • Disagree to a great extent  – 3 percent


  1. If you are participating in a loyalty program, how many trips would you be willing to make to a QSR before you received your reward (e.g. free sandwich)?
  • Five times  – 63 percent
  • 6-8 times  – 24 percent
  • 9-10 times –  10 percent
  • More than 10 times – 3 percent


  1. What would most incent you to refer a friend to a QSR?
  • 50% Discount food offer – 33 percent
  • Free food Item per referral – 30 percent
  • Gift card to restaurant – 37 percent


  1. Do you have a QSR App on your phone?
  • Yes, I have one – 21 percent
  • I have more than one  – 7 percent
  • No, I do not – 72 percent


  1. If you have a QSR App on your phone, what’s the top reason you have it?
  • To learn about new items –  11 percent
  • To get today’s deals – 25 percent
  • To get personalized rewards  – 29 percent
  • To pre-order my food for pickup – 22 percent
  • To pre-order my food for delivery – 12 percent


  1. If you received offers for deals through the QSR App, how often do you take action on the offer?
  • Never – 3 percent
  • 1-2 times/year – 10 percent
  • 3-5 times/year – 23 percent
  • 6-10 times/year – 30 percent
  • More than 10 times/year –  31 percent
  • I have not received offers – 2 percent


  1. Does a QSR App cause you to visit that restaurant more often?
  • Yes  – 43 percent
  • No – 57 percent


  1. How do you prefer to receive updates and offers from a QSR?
  • Newspaper coupons – 15 percent
  • Instant rebates/discounts via text –  21 percent
  • An App –  23 percent
  • Facebook  – 12 percent
  • Online ads –  9 percent
  • “Deal sites” such as  – 5 percent
  • I don’t want updates – 15 percent


  1. How much more likely are you to choose one QSR over another if you have a discount or BOGO or offer?
  • Very likely – 32 percent
  • Somewhat likely –  45 percent
  • Would make no difference – 17 percent
  • Somewhat less likely – 3 percent
  • Much less likely – 3 percent


  1. How likely would you be to visit a QSR that was offering a deal, such as a discount or BOGO, even if it was out of your way?
  • Very likely –  17 percent
  • Somewhat likely – 40 percent
  • Would make no difference  – 22 percent
  • Somewhat less likely –  16 percent
  • Much less likely  –  5 percent


About YA

For 45 years, YA has been a leader in promotional marketing services. We deliver high-impact, data-driven, digital, social and mobile promotions, such as rebates and rewards, enter to win, referral and loyalty programs, to the nation’s most respected brands. With deep expertise across multiple industries, our end-to-end management of 3,500+ promotions each year creates tens of millions of consumer interactions annually. We then analyze these interactions to understand the drivers of consumer behavior.  This makes us experts at turning even first-time customers into loyal brand advocates who take action, buy more and spread the word. 

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