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Radio Matters

Current news, information and insights about broadcast radio growth brought to you by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), a not-for-profit trade association representing America’s broadcast radio industry.

Radio Listeners are Craving Fast Food

Author: Nick Arias, Research & Insights Assistant, RAB

At some point in our lives, we’ve all had a favorite meal from a fast-food restaurant – a hamburger, rib sandwich, chicken or just fries. No matter what the restaurant or meal is, the one thing that people have in common is a love for that favorite food.

Americans are known for eating a lot of fast food. A 2023 study by Budget Branders found that 80% of Americans visit a fast-food restaurant at least once a month, and 20% eat fast food at least twice a week. Data also noted that 50 million Americans eat fast food daily.

Fast food eaters range in age. Insights from Budget Branders detail the age breakout of fast-food consumers:

  • 45% are 20-39 years old
  • 38% are 40-59 years old
  • 24% are age 60+

Also, on any given day, 34% of children will eat fast food.

One appeal of food at quick serve restaurants (QSRs) isn’t just the meal itself but the options available. Based on popularity, lunch takes the lead (44%), followed by dinner (42%). Breakfast and snacks are also popular meal types with 23% each.

The appeal of QSRs isn’t just about food, it is also about getting it on the go. No other medium reaches people throughout their busy day like broadcast radio. Radio reaches 88% of adults who have visited a fast food or drive-in restaurant in the past month, per MRI-Simmons.

What appeals to radio listeners about QSRs is the experience and what part it plays in their lives. Additional data from MRI-Simmons notes that 41% of radio listeners believe that eating at a fast-food restaurant is fun, and 31% agree that it fits their busy lifestyle. It also serves as an alternate at-home meal with 36% preferring to pick up quick meals instead of cooking. Radio listeners can also be considered as trendsetters and influencers to drive interest for QSRs. Thirty percent of radio listeners admit to usually being the first among their friends to try new food.

Fast-food establishments should also consider highlighting healthier meal options when using radio. Eighty-one percent of radio listeners believe in a healthy lifestyle instead of traditional dieting. Seventy-eight percent of radio listeners like seeing healthier options at a fast-food restaurant.

Additional insight into dining occasions is the companionship radio listeners experience. Nearly five in 10 radio listeners go with other adults to QSRs, and one quarter allow their companions to decide which restaurant to go to.

The options for meal alternatives are endless for many consumers. Ease, speed and experience are all important when targeting potential restaurant patrons. Fast-food advertisers should make note of what matters when trying to drive business and sales to their locations. Using a medium that reaches consumers on the go who are looking for satisfy their hunger or fast-food craving will be a sure win.

This post was originally published on Radio Matters.