Which Is Australia's Favourite Fast Food Chain?

Roy Morgan Research has released its figures for Australian takeaway consumption in 2013. The report includes the average number of takeaway visits per month and the ten most popular chains in the country. While the featured restaurants aren't surprising, the ordering did cause us to raise an eyebrow. Pizza and health-promoting subs aren't as popular as you might think.

Burger picture from Shutterstock

Despite an increased national push for healthier food options, it would appear fast food is as popular as ever if Roy Morgan Research's figures are anything to go by. In 2013, approximately 55 per cent of Australians visited a fast food restaurant at least once in an average four-week period. This figure almost triples when concentrating on McDonald’s customers, who indulged in their favourite takeaway an average of 2.7 times per month.

Below are the top ten fast food brands in Australia, ranked according to popularity and number of visits:

Image credit: Roy Morgan Research

As you can see, McDonald’s is still Australia's takeaway franchise of choice both in terms of visitation frequency and overall popularity. We would have thought mounting competition from Subway and Nandos would have made a bigger dent, but it seems many of you are still enamored with the Big Mac.

According to Roy Morgan Research, McDonald's high placement can be put down to the affordability of its food, extended opening times and large number of drive-through outlets, with brand loyalty also playing a part.

"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," explains Roy Morgan Research's Warren Reid explained.

We were also surprised by the relatively low placement of Domino's Pizza. When you consider its flexible home delivery system and sophisticated online presence, one would expect it to place much higher.

Interestingly, the most popular fast food restaurants weren't necessarily the most visited by individual customers. Despite placing second overall, KFC was only visited an average of 1.9 times per month. Subway managed to place #2 for total number of visits, which isn't too surprising -- the company's marketing and menu specials are geared towards trying different subs every day of the week.

"The ability to identify 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," Reid said.

The frequent introduction of new and varied menu items also plays a crucial role in retaining customers. It also keeps Takeaway Truth in business. Hurrah.

Which fast food franchise is your personal favourite? Do you frequent lots of chains or stick to the same handful? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


    This data doesn't mean anything without also knowing how many outlets each franchise has. McDonald's could be the most popular simply because they have the most stores.

      This, the only fast food within 60km of me is maccas.

      There are more Subways than Maccas worldwide. Not sure which has more in Aus alone.

        Well in my locale there's 5 maccas & 5 subways so yeah. Never really thought about it until then heh.

      Or maybe they have the most stores because they are the most popular?

      Red Rooster is hard to find in WA. I mean its not impossible, but i see Chicken Treat EVERYWHERE and i have to dive close up to an hour to find a red rooster.

        I've heard a lot about Chicken Treat from my WA compatriots, seems to be their answer to Red Rooster. Pity the closest one to me is over 600kms away (one of the rare few stores in QLD)

    What city is this for? I've never even heard of Oporto, or seen one out here in the West.

      they have started popping up, I know of 2 so far.

      That's what I thought! After seeing the logo, though, I remember seeing it in Melbourne. Apparently one in Bentley and one in Vic Park.

      Oporto is everywhere in NSW at least (they started in Bondi). Wasn't aware they didn't have a big presence interstate.

        I haven't ever heard of them, nor do i have any idea what they are. I'll have to google.

          A fast food chain specialising in chicken burgers, often with some kind of chilli on it. They were one of the first to start the whole "fresh, not frozen" advertising slogan.

      one in Vic Park (near Canning Hwy) next to the Maccas. Chicken Treat closed down.

    Yeah, no-one is going to get close to Mc Donald's, not with the services and price they offer. The fact you can go there at 3am and pay $5 to get a (fairly shitty) meal, really makes them stand on their own.

    I'm surprised KFC is second. I suppose number of outlets comes into play there. But I imagine they're haemorrhaging customers now days, given how awful they've been over the last couple of years.

      I personally haven't eaten at KFC for more than 15 years.

      I hadn't eaten KFC in 8 years after a food poisoning episode, and when I had one recently it was microwaved buns with chewy obviously nowhere near fresh chicken. While the rest of the industry have grown in quality and freshness, KFC have just stagnated and made flashy celebrity based adverts.

        Yeah, I mean even Macca's, which in my mind is the lowest of low for fast food, is actually kind of fresh, being made on demand and all. I'm not sure what their chip turnover is, though, I find that's where KFC is pretty consistent with it's crapness, stale, luke-warm, under/over salted chips.

        My local KFC seems to have the very strange thing of not having chicken ready for lunch time. Which is just pathetic really, your main product, isn't ready to sell when your customers are expecting it. It's pretty much the core of your business, and they can't seem to get that right.

          Maccas are the lowest of low? really? So what's KFC then? and Hungry jacks is just similar to Macca's with worse service and management.

          Mcdonald's are easily the most well managed of the franchises and you usually get what you expect, KFC is absolutely terrible, and the food is absolutely shit.

            Yeah, I consider Maccas to be like the fast food "default". The food isn't that great, really not good for you (unless your getting a salad), and is there FAST. It would be probably the place of last resort for me, when getting food. The quintessential fast food outlet.

            KFC, some how, falls below this. It's like their management saw how Maccas was run, and decided they did everything wrong, tried to "fix it" and ended up fucking it up royally in the process. Maccas, as a company, is run extraordinarily well. The fact they can get their stores looking so clean, staff so well presented and (in some cases) trained, and the food so consistent, shows they're doing things right. KFC fuck all of that up.

            HJ's, can't say I visit often enough to compare them. I went there the other night in between pubs on a night out. It was fine. Just the same as Maccas, just a little different.

          If you want fresh chips, just ask for them without salt and put your own on later

            Sorry, not "salt", "seasoning".... It's not the same using regular salt, you need that MSG!

              Everyone needs the MSG! Without it there would be absolutely not flavour to maccas at all

        Exactly my experience with KFC. Food poisoning 8 years ago, never went back.

        I am very surprised to see KFC bought so much. Hunks of seagull and rabbit meat tossed in stale breadcrumbs and left soaking in congealed oil for weeks at a time. Or "surgery left overs" as Chris himself called a recent taste test.

        I am guessing the company who did this survey polled only the bogan areas of Sydney and Melbourne?

    This should have taken the number of outlets available in the calculation. This is misleading data otherwise

      Although perhaps some chains have more outlets because of their popularity?

      While number of outlets obviously gives an advantage to the established players, when comparing two established franchises it might just indicate that one managed to gain more market share in the past.

        it still doesnt make it for an even playing field. Also not all of them offer breakfast, not all of them are open 24hrs, these are things that are needed to be taken into consideration if you want to make a fair comparison.

    The menu items would play a big part in this list I think. Domino's home delivery with a minimum $20 spend (and the large amout of food that comes with that) can't really be compared to popping into the drive-thru at McDonalds on the way home and spending $2 on a burger.

    Annnnnddd, maccas serves breakfast whereas KFC, dominos and all the others (except for subway) do not. That probably helps a lot too. We have lots of Oportos in QLD, I think of it as budget Nandos

      Maccas, KFC, Subway, HJ, Oporto, Red Rooster serve breakfast. Yeah KFC serve chicken for breakfast, gross.

      Not all of them are open 24hrs either. Actually, i think Maccas is the only one that have some 24hr stores

        It would have the most 24h stores but HJ's definitely have 24h stores and i think subway do too.

    I'm not sure that KFC, Oporto and Red Rooster serve breakfast in most of their locations, but yeah I forgot about Hungry Jacks.

    Personally I like mcdonalds because their food isn't THAT bad for you (comparatively speaking) - and usually even for the worse items on their menu don't just taste like grease. It's not perfect, but they try, and that's about all you can ask.

    There's definitely some info missing from this article. Oporto aren't in WA or Tas, so where did the people in this survey live? Did newer chains like PieFace or SumoSalad get included? Also, this survey is only looking at the most popular chain - I'd argue that while McDonalds is the most popular chain, it's probably not the most popular takeaway food. My local mall has 4 sushi shops to 1 McDonalds!

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