The fast food industry has an average Brand Intimacy Quotient of 34, below the cross-industry average of 38.1. Chick-fil-A regains the first place position it had in 2019. McDonald’s moves up one spot to second place, while 2020’s top brand, Starbucks, moves to third. Consumer preference for Dominos and KFC has increased, while preference for Subway and Wendy’s has decreased.
The fast food industry ranks sixth this year, the same position as in our last study. The industry increased its average Quotient Score by 5.9 percent. Fast Food performs better with men than women and with younger consumers versus older ones. Additionally, daily usage increased 37 percent, indicating that more Americans have been eating fast food more frequently during the pandemic.
During COVID, the fast food industry performed better than the cross-industry average for the indulgence and nostalgia archetypes. The industry also improved its performance in indulgence and ritual, and largely maintained the same archetype strengths as in our previous study. Regarding the stages, the category is below the industry average; however, sharing increased by 28 percent, while bonding and fusing stayed steady.
Indulgence remains the dominant industry archetype, unchanged since our last study. Fast food is the top industry out of all 10 for indulgence. The category has also improved its percentage of users in some form of intimacy by 17 percent. McDonald’s is the top brand for men, replacing Starbucks, while women prefer Chick-fil-A.
Comparing the top two fast food brands, Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s, we see considerable variation. Chick-fil-A exhibits significantly stronger associations in the fulfillment and indulgence archetypes. McDonald’s performs much better in nostalgia and moderately better in enhancement. In terms of stages, Chick-fil-A leads across all three stages of sharing, bonding, and fusing.