Hispanic consumers visit quick serves more than any other demographic, according to a new study, and operators can gain their loyalty by addressing their culinary and social needs.

“With targeted communication [and] family friendly in-store experiences, and by continuing to deliver high-quality meals with fresh foods and healthy options, quick-serve restaurant brands can motivate Hispanics to become loyal customers,” says Michelle Kessler, senior vice president of Univision’s client development group.

Univision’s QSR Landscape study found that on average, Hispanics visit quick serves more than 10 times per month, compared with seven visits a month from the non-Hispanic population.

“The younger the consumer, the more intensely they visit quick-service restaurants, making Hispanics prime customers,” Kessler says. “For example, [the study] found that 18–24-year-old Hispanics visit quick-service restaurants 13 times a month.”

An accommodating atmosphere is a significant motivator for Hispanic consumers, as they often dine out in larger parties, the study shows. It reports that 34 percent of Hispanics are likely to bring children, compared with 25 percent of non-Hispanics.

“Hispanics are much more likely to cite spending time with family, treating their children, and spending time with friends as reasons to visit a quick-serve restaurant,” Kessler says. “Given that the social aspects of the quick-service visit are so important to Hispanics, there is potential for brands to position themselves as being social-occasion friendly.”

Hispanics also showcase higher spending patterns when dining out, the study reports. A beverage is a popular accompaniment to a meal, as 93 percent of Hispanics say they order food and a beverage versus 78 percent of non-Hispanics who order both. They are less likely to use a coupon, and also contribute more to the breakfast and snack dayparts than the non-Hispanic population.

Across all dayparts, the Hispanic dining party has an average of 2.9 people versus 2.1 for the general population, according to Univision’s study.

Kessler says one way for a brand to position itself as friendly to the Hispanic population is with targeted communication.

“Cultural fluency is what resonates with Hispanics,” she explains. “They are drawn to media and marketing that accurately and fully reflect their Hispanic-American lives. With targeted communications that speak to Hispanics’ cultural tendencies, quick serves can develop a deep relationship with these profitable consumers.”

According to the study, once a brand establishes a relationship with Hispanic consumers, they become even more loyal customers than non-Hispanics.

Brands also gain loyalty when their menus feature fresh food, healthy meal options for children, and fresh veggies and salads, the study says. Non-Hispanics, on the other hand, prefer value options over fresh fare, and are more likely to choose a restaurant because they get “more food here for the same price [than] at other places,” according to the study.

With the Latino population numbering more than 50 million people, Kessler says a brand that adapts itself to Hispanic eating patterns stands to profit.

“The Census reports that through 2020, Hispanics are projected to drive the growth of the teen and young adult population,” Kessler says. “In the long term, Hispanics will become a bigger percentage of the quick-serve restaurant consumer base.”

By Sonya Chudgar

News, Operations, Outside Insights, Restaurant Operations