The State of Restaurant Customer Experience

While most restaurants have a customer experience program that tracks feedback via receipt surveys or loyalty programs, there are limitations to using solely internal data - it can lead to making decisions in a vacuum. Introducing benchmarking data provides important competitive context on which initiatives are the most impactful and worth investing in.

How does your brand's customer experience stack up against QSR and Fast Casual competitors? We analyzed 23,000 consumer survey responses to answer this for you.

This analysis comes from our newest syndicated survey, The Restaurant Customer Experience Benchmark, which tracks post-visit experience attributes for guests of 26 Quick Service, Fast Casual, and Pizza chains. 

Overall satisfaction could be better. For the average brand, most customers (51%) are extremely satisfied, but roughly half of customers leave with less-than-ideal satisfaction. This presents an opportunity to drive improved customer retention – even for those that lead in OSAT today.

Taste and convenient locations are the primary drivers for why consumers choose a restaurant. Among the reasons driving consumers’ visits, taste is most important (43%) followed by convenient location (35%).cx-drivers-


Loyalty programs, though not a dominant driver on their own, may be relatively important compared to ads / promos. Brands like Starbucks and Dunkin show that loyalty programs are an important driver of visits.

Among some COVID-critical attributes, brands fall across a wide spectrum (ease of ordering, cleanliness, and staff hygiene).

Purchases are most often for 2+ people and are being paid for without using cash. 61% reported including a beverage with purchase, 70% reported a 2+ party size, and 67% paid with credit/debit.

Out of the 11% of consumers who experienced a problem with their visit, only 43% reported the problem to staff. Of those who reported, 51% gave low satisfaction scores. Proactive operational quality is an area many brands could improve, especially because most consumers don’t report problems or find satisfaction in their resolution.



Figures shown above are a simple (unweighted) average of brands tracked. 

  • Sample: N=750 per brand per quarter
  • Length: 6-8 minutes
  • Targeting: Surveys triggered upon validated trip to a restaurant based on Sense360 geolocation data.
  • Response Window: Within 72 hours of validated visit to restaurant
  • Delivery: Always-on dashboard with data exports, optional powerpoint report
  • Representativeness: Natural fallout weighted to U.S. Census representative sample
  • Data cuts available: Age | Gender | Employment Status | Education | Marital Status | HHI | Order Frequency | Loyalty Membership


Brands Tracked (if you'd like us to add yours or a competitor's, let us know)


Attributes Tracked


To learn more about the Restaurant Customer Experience Benchmark, please contact us.