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New Study Explores the Hispanic QSR Invasion

In 2011, Univision and Burke conducted our first research report on how Quick Service Restaurant chains can expand their businesses by addressing the needs of the Hispanic customer. Since then, we’ve seen major shifts in the industry, including an increased focus on freshness and digital engagement.

In an effort to deepen our understanding of Hispanics and the current QSR landscape, we partnered with Burke once again for part two of our QSR study. We revealed our findings in the latest Hispanic 411 webinar, “The Hispanics QSR Invasion,” where I had the pleasure of presenting with Jodie McInerney, Senior Vice President at Burke. Here’s some of what we saw compared to our first study four years ago:

More Frequent Visitors: Hispanics continue to be heavier QSR users than non-Hispanics, visiting 10+ times per month (33% vs. for 26% NH). Hispanic millennials are the heaviest users with 37% visiting 10+ times a month compared to their older Hispanics counterparts.

Bigger Party Size: The average party size for Hispanics is nearly an additional person per visit (2.8 people per party vs. 2.1 for NH). This isn’t surprising since Hispanics are more likely to visit with friends and family. For example, 58% go with a spouse or significant other vs. 46% of non-Hispanics, and 46% of Hispanics are likely to bring children 18 years of age or younger compared to only 23% of non-Hispanics. Even Hispanic millennials are twice as likely to visit with children (45% vs. 22% of NH Millennials).

Fresh and Healthy: One of the biggest shifts we saw in this study was that, although both Hispanics and non-Hispanics are focused more on the quality and freshness of their food,  freshness is significantly more important for Hispanics. Sixty five percent of Hispanics say they “look for healthier food alternatives for their children and family,” while less than half of non-Hispanics said the same. The biggest difference was among those who say they “seek out food made by an environmentally friendly and socially responsible company;” Hispanics were twice as likely to agree (56% vs. 23% NH).

Digital Trial Drivers: We’ve also seen a significant increase in the role digital plays in driving Hispanics through the door. According to the study, Wi-Fi (56% Hispanic vs. 29% NH), mobile ordering apps (54% Hispanic vs. 23% NH) and mobile coupons (57% Hispanic vs. 30% NH) all incentivize Hispanics to try a new QSR – in each case significantly more than non-Hispanics.

We also took a look at where chains are over delivering and where we see opportunity when it comes to Hispanics. QSRs are doing a good job at focusing on key drivers such as being a good place to spend time with family (including providing kid-friendly environments) and having variety on the menu. It’s important that QSRs continue to focus on these areas to ensure that their best customer’s needs are being met.  The opportunities all lie around providing healthier options, and being a fun place to visit and a good place for dinner.

The Hispanic QSR invasion is here to stay. If chains want to remain top-of-mind with these frequent visitors, then catering to their evolving tastes and needs is the way to make it happen.

For more information, download our QRS landscape infographic.

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