By Tiffany Hsu
10:34 AM CDT, October 3, 2012
That young white dude munching on a burger with his girlfriend at the local quick-service restaurant? He’s the typical customer at chains such as In-N-Out, Starbucks and more.
From a survey of 38,000 customers of various fast-food and fast-casual restaurants, research group Technomic determined that the standard patron is a Caucasian man, 25 to 34 years old. He usually brings his spouse or significant other and chooses to dine in rather than take out.
That’s why chains such as Carl’s Jr. focus so much effort on the so-called “young hungry guy” demographic, though companies such as Burger King and McDonald’s have recently begun trying to appeal to moms, older professionals and other customers.
Once at a restaurant, Average Joes and fellow diners value food quality and taste beyond any other factor. Eight in 10 deemed their meals at quick-service eateries to be good or very good.
Among American chains, Chick-fil-A was voted as having the best food in the sector, followed by Culver’s, Golden Corral, Jamba Juice and Papa Murphy’s.
Chick-fil-A topped the lists for cleanliness, service and value, while Caribou Coffee was deemed to have the best beverages and atmosphere.
Two-thirds of customers said the average fast-food or fast-casual restaurant is good at emotional connection.
A report last year from UC Davis found that fast-food dining is most popular among the middle class, which is drawn to the convenience and affordability offered by chains. The study also concluded that men are more likely to visit, as are people who work longer hours.