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Which fast food chain is winning the hunger games?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Aust), January 2013–December 2013, n= 18,576. Base: Australians 14+

Quick and easy lunch choice or affordable treat for the whole family? Satisfyingly salty hangover cure or something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy? Say what you will about fast food, the latest figures from Roy Morgan Research indicate that it’s as popular as ever among Australians.  

Last year, more than half the population (just over 55%) of Australians visited at least one fast food restaurant in an average four-week period, for either takeaway or to dine in. McDonald's was the clear favourite, visited by three out of ten Australians.

Australia’s most popular — and most visited — fast food restaurants


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Aust), January 2013–December 2013, n= 18,576. Base: Australians 14+

But there’s more to this popularity contest than simply the percentage of Aussies visiting in any given four-week period. A fast-food chain’s ability to keep its customers coming back is key to its continued success. Whether this is the result of more varied menu choices, greater convenience or better taste, it seems that McDonald’s tops the list for highest average number of visits per customer as well as total number of customers.

With its customers paying around 2.7 visits in an average four weeks, McDonald’s has a convincing lead over Subway (2.3 visits), Hungry Jack’s (2.2) and Nando’s (2.0). Despite having the second-highest total customer count, KFC only managed fifth position for average visitation.

Warren Reid, Group Account Manager – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

"The supremacy of McDonald’s in terms of total customers and average visitation rate isn’t especially surprising. Not only is its menu is extremely affordable, but many of its 900-plus Australian restaurants offer drive-through, extended opening hours and/or playgrounds for the kids. In today’s time-poor society, such ease and convenience is a real drawcard.

“Brand loyalty is crucial in any industry, with fast food being no exception. Ironically, it’s the very convenience of so many fast food restaurants that means customers don’t stay absolutely loyal to one particular chain. Of all the fast food chains in the top 10, McDonalds’ customers are the least likely to have visited competitor chains while at the opposite end of the spectrum, Oporto customers have visited more fast food outlets than any other chain’s customers in an average 4 weeks. 

"Subway also does well in enticing its customers back for multiple visits no surprise, really, considering it won the Quick Service Restaurant of the Year award in the 2013 Roy Morgan Research Customer Satisfaction Awards. This is a chain that knows how to keep its customers satisfied.

“The ability to identify these high-frequency customers allows a fast-food chain to target and refine its marketing campaigns more effectively, with the aim of instilling brand loyalty in this extremely competitive industry.”  

For additional information or comments, please contact:

Warren Reid, Group Account Manager — Consumer Products
Office: +61 (3) 9224 5161 

Related research findings

View our extensive range of Quick Service Restaurant customer profiles, including Subway, McDonald’s, Red Rooster and more. These profiles provide a broad understanding of the target audience, in terms of demographics, attitudes, activities and media usage in Australia.

About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%