This blog post is a summary of a recent project completed by Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS). 

Background: An advertising firm partnered with Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) to conduct image and awareness focus groups for their client, an international quick service restaurant. The end-client wanted to better understand consumer perceptions of the restaurant’s menu, products, pricing, facilities, employees, and the brand overall. The market research objective was to gather the insights needed for the restaurant to improve the customer experience.

Approach: The study consisted of three 100 minute focus groups. Focus group participants were selected from the RMS ViewPoint Research Panel based upon the frequency that they visit the restaurant. The first focus group included millennials who were either current or former restaurant users. The second group was made up of current restaurant users, and the last group included only former users of the quick service restaurant. RMS staff moderated the focus groups, which were held at the RMS QualiSight Focus Group facility in Baldwinsville, NY. RMS recruited 12 participants for each group, to ultimately seat 10 to participate in the discussion. RMS completed the project in approximately six weeks.

Results: Here are some highlights of the study’s findings:

  • Participants reviewed several commercials, identified their favorite, and provided feedback on how the commercials could be improved. This allowed the end-client to determine the appropriate message for each customer type.
  • Research revealed what the restaurant is known for among consumers, allowing the end-client to identify brand strengths and areas of opportunity.
  • Participants identified top competitors and reasons for choosing them instead of the end-client restaurant. Consumers noted that they are willing to pay slightly more for what they perceive to be fresher, higher quality ingredients.
  • It was clear that the consumer definition of “fresh” has evolved in recent years. Although the client was a previous leader in the healthy eating movement, focus group participants felt that the quick service restaurant has not evolved with the perception of fresh and has thus faced steep competition by newer restaurant entrants to the healthy eating movement.
  • Participant feedback revealed the need for the restaurant to update the quality and variety of ingredients, and refresh the restaurant facilities. One of the recommendations offered by RMS in the project report included the suggestion that the restaurant re-tool the commercials to demonstrate the improvements made in an effort to better meet consumer needs.

RMS is a full-service market research firm located in Baldwinsville, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our research capabilities, please contact Sandy Baker, our Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at or by calling 1-866-567-5422. Visit our website at