This report provides comprehensive and current information and analysis of the Quick Service Restaurants market including Quick Service Restaurants market size, anticipated market forecast, relevant market segmentation, and industry trends for the Quick Service Restaurants market in the US.

Current market landscape

The foodservice industry continues to battle pandemic-related challenges that compromise its recovery and yet, QSRs have enjoyed relatively stable restaurant ordering over 2021, with 62% of consumers ordering at least once a week.

QSRs’ ability to serve consumers’ expanded needs for speed and convenience is compromised by the labor crisis the foodservice industry is currently facing. Foodservice workers continue to feel disempowered and underpaid and so operators are competing on pay and benefits to fill positions. Continual investment in technologies and formats that enable efficient operations with fewer resources will be crucial for success as QSRs deal with higher costs and rely heavily on revenues from off-premise consumption.

Future market trends in Quick Service Restaurants

In light of inflation, consumers are likely to reduce spending on discretionary categories including foodservice. QSR operators will need to strongly deliver on value through loyalty and subscription programs, high-quality offerings, and expanded presence in nontraditional formats such as takeout-/delivery-only locations and grocery stores.

Consumers are enthusiastic about engaging with QSRs online and are interested in participating in loyalty and subscription programs. This is a great time for QSRs to invest in proprietary mobile apps and encourage consumers to order directly more frequently. Doing so also grants operators access to valuable data that can be used to make the consumer journey highly personalized.

Read on to discover more about the Quick Service Restaurants consumer market, read our How America Dines Market Report 2021, or take a look at our other Fast Food Market research reports.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and the foodservice market.
  • Consumer considerations when choosing QSRs to order from and expected consumer behavior in 2022.
  • Consumer experience with technological improvements at QSRs and their interest in QSR concepts.
  • Opportunities, challenges, and strategies for QSRs to navigate post-pandemic market challenges.

Covered in this quick service restaurants market report

Brands include: Starbucks, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Chipotle, Roblox, Twitch, YouTube, Patreon, Domino’s, KFC, Arby’s, Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s, White Castle, Captain D’s.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Varchasvi, a leading analyst in the Foodservice sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis on the quick service restaurant industry to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

QSR offerings and services, both on and off-premise, are rapidly evolving as automation and technological investments become ubiquitous in the industry. These are necessary investments that lend QSRs the opportunity to deliver a highly efficient and personalized experience to their customers, whose needs for value and convenience are now elevated and must be prioritized.
Varchasvi, Foodservice Analyst, Mintel Menu Insights
Analyst, US Foodservice and Mintel Menu Insights

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
    • COVID-19: US context
    • Economic and other assumptions
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of limited-service eating places*, at current prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 2: Category outlook, 2022-27
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Continue tech investments to maintain ordering frequency
      • Figure 3: Fast food ordering frequency, 2021
    • Digitize the consumer journey
      • Figure 4: Factors for choosing a QSR – NET – Any rank, 2021
    • Create value through premium menu items, convenient locations and ongoing rewards
      • Figure 5: QSR concept interest, 2021
    • Leverage interest in loyalty programs to encourage direct ordering
      • Figure 6: QSR attitudes, 2021
  3. Market Size and Forecast

    • Automation and digitization will drive foodservice growth
      • Figure 7: Total US retail sales and fan chart forecast of limited-service eating places*, at current prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 8: Total US retail sales and forecast of limited-service eating places*, at current prices, 2016-26
  4. Market Breakdown

    • LSR market share growth will slow
      • Figure 9: Total US revenues and forecast of full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places*, by segment, at current prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 10: Market share of total US sales and forecast of full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places, by segment, 2019-26
  5. Market Factors

    • Investment in technology will ease the impact of the labor crisis
      • Figure 11: Quit levels, accommodation and foodservices, 2020-21
    • Inflation complicates foodservice recovery
      • Figure 12: Changes in Consumer Price Indexes for food, 2019 through 2022
  6. Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

    • Experiment with store formats
    • Enhance cultural footprint
    • Create opportunities for consumers to engage with foodservice brands online
      • Figure 13: McDonald’s Menu Hack tweet
    • A virtual reality
    • Create loyalty programs and encourage frequent ordering
    • Innovate with plant-based options
  7. The QSR Consumer: Fast Facts

  8. Trended Restaurant Ordering

    • QSRs must consistently invest in technological and operational improvements
      • Figure 14: Restaurant ordering, 2020-21
  9. Fast Food Ordering Frequency

    • Pandemic-related changes threaten consumers’ current perception of QSRs
      • Figure 15: Fast food ordering frequency, 2021
    • Frequent QSR consumers value convenience and variety
      • Figure 16: Frequent QSR consumer demographics, 2021
  10. Factors for Choosing a QSR

    • QSR consumers’ ordering habits are driven by convenience
      • Figure 17: Factors for choosing a QSR – NET – Any rank, 2021
    • Tackle geographical barriers by investing more heavily in off-premise
      • Figure 18: Factors for choosing a QSR – NET – Any rank, by generation, 2021
    • Health and speed will win parents’ dining dollars
      • Figure 19: Factors for choosing a QSR – NET – Any rank, by parental status, 2021
  11. QSR Technology Experience

    • Leverage consumer interest in tech amenities to test new concepts
      • Figure 20: QSR tech experience – NET, 2021
      • Figure 21: QSR tech interest – NET, 2021
      • Figure 22: Interest in cryptocurrency payment – NET, 2021
  12. QSR Concept Interest

    • As consumers face higher prices, emphasize value through high-quality offerings and convenience
      • Figure 23: QSR concept interest, 2021
      • Figure 24: TURF analysis – QSR innovative concept interest, 2021
    • Engage Gen Zs through ongoing discounts
      • Figure 25: QSR concept interest, by generation, 2021
    • Reach parents through digital touchpoints
      • Figure 26: QSR concept interest, by parental status, 2021
      • Figure 27: QSR attitudes – CHAID – Tree output, 2021
    • Test new loyalty programs and features in suburban and rural markets
      • Figure 28: QSR concept interest, by area, 2021
      • Figure 29: QSR attitudes – CHAID – Tree output, 2021
    • Focus on premium ingredients and flavor in new menu innovation
      • Figure 30: QSR concept interest, by flavor segmentation, 2022
  13. QSR Attitudes

    • Focus on creating a consistent experience for consumers in addition to offering high-quality food
      • Figure 31: QSR attitudes, 2021
    • Off-premise family-focused deals will resonate with Black and Asian consumers
      • Figure 32: QSR attitudes, by race, 2022
    • Tech improvements may alienate suburban consumers
      • Figure 33: QSR attitudes, by area, 2022
  14. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Sales data
    • Forecast
    • Consumer survey data
    • Marketing creative
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
  15. Appendix – The Market

      • Figure 34: Total US retail sales and forecast of limited-service eating places*, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2016-26
  16. Appendix – The Consumer

    • Flavor and ingredient segmentation methodology
    • TURF analysis methodology
      • Figure 35: Table – TURF analysis – QSR innovative concept interest, 2021
    • CHAID methodology
      • Figure 36: QSR attitudes – CHAID – Table output, 2021

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

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