In a study comparing McDonald’s, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts customers, McDonald’s coffee customers are the least likely to stray.
The currently unpublished study involved 15,000 fast-food customers who answered questions regarding their coffee and breakfast-buying habits, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The study found 29% of McDonald’s customers go to a Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee or breakfast in a given month, while 53% of customers who named Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts as their primary source of coffee admitted to also visiting competing outlets over the course of a month.
Coffee sales at Starbucks, which gains most of its revenue from beverages, is still greater than that of McDonald’s, which claims 6% of its U.S. revenue from coffee drinks. But McDonald’s lower prices might be helping it sustain more loyalty, noted Dave Jenkins, co-founder of CustomersDNA, and former president of the food-service division at market researcher NPD Group Inc. For example, in Chicago McDonald’s charges $1 for any size of brewed coffee, while the smallest size at Dunkin’ costs 75 cents more, and 50 cents more at Starbucks, the Chicago Tribune noted.
“We realize that some customers like to experiment with other coffee,” said John Costello, chief marketing and innovation officer for Dunkin’ Brands Inc. The company drives customer loyalty with a rewards program and new, limited-time offers on baked goods and beverages.
“We found that there’s a fair amount of visits driven by customers that go to more than one chain and these are the heaviest users in the marketplace, going at least three to four times per week,” Jenkins told the Chicago Tribune. “Getting that customer to come one more time to their restaurant and one less time to their competitor’s is how the battle will be won or lost.”
The study was CustomersDNA’s first study, and it was not commissioned or paid for by any of the companies involved.