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Table of Contents

Introduction

In this insight report, we delve into the fast food industry, touching on the frequency with Irish consumers consume fast food and their attitudes towards it. This research was gathered on 3rd February 2021 over 24 hours. 2078 responses were collected from 18 to 55-year-olds in the Republic of Ireland.

Frequency

We asked our panel how often they consume fast food. 37% of respondents consume fast food a few times per month. Only 15.98% of respondents eat fast food less than once a month, while a tiny portion of respondents consume fast food 3-4 times a week. The most frequently visited restaurant was McDonalds, with over 50% of respondents visiting the restaurant. The next most popular fast food business was Dominos, with 32.05% of respondents selecting it. Over a quarter of respondents selected the option “other”, indicating that the fast food industry is very fragmented with many smaller players. On average, 39.46% of respondents spent between €0 to €10 on fast food each week. Less than 25% of respondents spend over €25 on fast food per week.

Attitudes

We asked our panel to indicate how much they agree with the following statements:

  • The last fast food meal I had was worth the price
  • I feel fast food is cheaper than regular food items
  • I prefer fast food over any other meal
  • Fast food doesn’t always have to be unhealthy

The 54.81% of our panel agreed with the statement “The last fast food meal I had was worth the price”, while less than 15% of respondents feel like their last fast food meal was not worth the price.  Furthermore, approximately 2 in 5 respondents disagree with the statement “I feel fast food is cheaper than regular food items”.  A similar portion of respondents (43%) also disagree with the statement “I prefer fast food over any other meal” with another fifth (19.83%) saying they strongly disagree. The majority of respondents (58.04%) agree with the statement “Fast food doesn’t always have to be unhealthy”. 

Preferences

The most important factor when respondents were selecting a fast food restaurant was “Taste” with over two-fifths of respondents ranking it as number 1. The factors with the lowest amount of first preference votes were “drive-in available” and “calories”. In fact, “drive-in available” was ranked the lowest by 952 respondents. 

By order of preference, the highest portion of respondents preferred to order fast food online over a mobile app with over 43% of respondents saying so. Ordering instore had 40% of the second preference share. The least popular by rank was ordering online through a website. 

Reasons

Finally, we asked our panel what are their primary reasons for buying fast food. The top three reasons respondents chose were:

  1. As a Reward / Treat (72.47%)
  2. Speed / Convenience (60.49%)
  3. Taste (48.6%)

The two least popular reasons were “more choice/variety” and “I dislike preparing meals”.  The contrast between the popularity of “as a reward / treat” and “more choice/variety” would indicate that people enjoy familiarity with their fast food choices. 

Bar chart of the primary reasons for buying fast food, with 72.47% of respondents selecting "as a reward / treat".

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