Customizable Quick Service Survey: Customization Seen as a Plus, Not Necessity

According to QSR Magazine, customization is a major factor for a lot of today’s restaurant consumers. People who visit quick service or fast casual eateries want the option to build their own dish with all their own custom ingredients and toppings, rather than only having the option to select one of a few pre-determined options. So just how prominent is this trend in the eyes of consumers? We asked 1,000 respondents about their thoughts on the build-your-own dish trend and how it compares to other options at quick service restaurants.

customizable quick service

Quick Service Consumers

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest online survey, 30% of respondents said that they’ve eaten at quick service or fast casual restaurants within the past day. And 49% have done so within the past week. Only 3% said they don’t ever patronize quick service restaurants.

Overall, it seems that cost is the most important consideration when picking a quick service restaurant; 46% rated it as most important. Just 5% said that the ability to customize orders is most important to them. Other factors like freshness of ingredients, brand name, convenience and nutritional value were all rated as more important.

Customizable Quick Service

44% of respondents said that they’ve eaten at quick service restaurants that have completely customizable or build-your-own menu options within the past week. Subway and Chipotle were the most popular restaurants that consumers mentioned in this area. Others include Jimmy John’s, Moe’s and Firehouse Subs.

Menu Preferences

More specifically, just 23% of quick service restaurant consumers said that they prefer a completely customizable or build-your-own menu. That’s more than the 14% who prefer a menu of set items. And 44% said they prefer a menu that has some set menu items but allow customization or changes to those items. The remaining 19% said they have no preference.

Key Takeaways

Customization might be a major trend for quick service restaurants right now. But it’s not the most important thing in the eyes of consumers. Other factors like price and freshness do take precedence. But customization is seen as a plus by a lot of consumers. They just seem to like a little guidance with specific menu items that they can change if necessary. There is still a fairly sizable market for build-your-own meal quick service restaurants though. So it could work as a niche or differentiating factor for more restaurant chains, since there are only a couple standout brands in this area currently.

You can view the complete survey results in the widget below and be sure to click “Open Full Report” to take advantage of all the chart and filter options.

Photo Credit: Subway Restaurant by Mike Mozart under CC by-SA 2.0

What do you want to know? If you need some consumer insights on a particular topic, let us know in the comments below and we’ll consider it for an upcoming survey post.

Results were collected on September 18 via AYTM’s online survey panel.

Anne Pilon brings 3 years experience to AYTM as a blogger and journalist. She has a degree in journalism and marketing communications from Columbia College in Chicago and enjoys writing about business, marketing, social media, and art.