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QSR brand value: Marketing mix dimensions among McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, Subway and Starbucks

Robert J. Harrington (School of Hospitality Business Management, Washington State University, Richland, Washington, DC, USA)
Michael C. Ottenbacher (Department of International Business, Heilbronn University, Heilbronn, Germany)
Simon Fauser (Heilbronn University, Heilbronn, Germany)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 9 January 2017




This study aims to examine the quick service restaurant (QSR) differentiation in the minds of consumers, customers and non-customers and addresses the use of absolute measures. The study integrated competitive context and customer vs non-customer perceptions to better understand marketing strategies and the impact on customer value.


A conceptual framework is provided with marketing strategy, 7Ps, value positioning and outcomes. A survey instrument to assess perceptions of QSR marketing mix dimensions and leading QSR brands as referents was used. The study used exploratory factor analysis, ANOVA and logistic regression to address research questions.


The five QSR brands were differentiated by three marketing mix dimensions: quality, convenience and price. Subway and Starbucks customers perceived higher quality than McDonald’s and Burger King. Price separated Starbucks and McDonald’s customers. Overall, QSR customers perceived higher quality and convenience than non-customers. Age group was a predictor of customer membership of QSR overall and McDonald’s.

Research limitations/implications

The study used participants in Germany and had more respondents identified as McDonald’s customers or referent.

Practical implications

The quality bundle represents unique resources for each QSR brand. Management teams should use a holistic mindset in considering the quality bundle reputation and how the various attributes support each other.


Consumers look to three factors for QSR rather than 7Ps: quality, convenience and price. Relative comparisons of perceptions among brands and between customers vs non-customers provided important contributions for QSR marketing mix factors.



Harrington, R.J., Ottenbacher, M.C. and Fauser, S. (2017), "QSR brand value: Marketing mix dimensions among McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, Subway and Starbucks", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 551-570.



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