Segmenting the Fast Food Market


market segmentation, positioning, marketing mix, consumer behavior

Teaching Notes

  • Preferred format: This teaching activity is flexible and can be run individually or in small groups with optional reporting back to the overall class.
  • Student audience: This discussion exercise is more suitable for students in an introduction to marketing course Exercise time: This discussion activity will probably run 120-30 minutes
  • Activity variations: You can change it from an established fast food chain to a new market entrant, to determine an appropriate entry strategy.

Review the activity below or download the PDF student worksheet

Student Discussion Activity

The main purpose of segmenting any market is to identify different consumer needs in order to construct an appropriate marketing mix.

For this activity, let’s assume that six different market segments have benefit identified in the fast food market, as highlighted in this diagram.

fast food market segmentation example

Overview of the Needs of Each Market Segment

Family treat

The first market segment essentially looks at fast food as a “reward” for good behavior or as a special treat for the family.

I like it

This consumer segment will consume fast food primarily for the taste of it – that is, they simply enjoy it.

Nice and easy

This consumer group views fast food as an easy option for food. These consumers are not overly attracted to fast food, but are not always in the mood to cook.

Pressed for time

This market segment is quite time-poor. Their preference is NOT to consume fast food, but it may be a necessity for them at times.

Real meal

This segment of consumers is seeking the convenience benefits of fast food, but they are looking for a relatively healthy food option as well.

Meeting place

The final market segment in this example is not interested in the food to much extent, instead they are attracted by the location and facilities of the fast food outlet and use the venue as a meeting place.

Student Discussion Questions

  1. Review the above market segments. Which ones do you think would be the more attractive segments for a fast food chain (that is, the better target markets)?
  2. Having selected your preferred target markets in Question One, outline how a fast food chain could configure its marketing mix to meet the needs of these consumer groups.
  3. Would it be possible for a fast food chain to structure their marketing mix in such a way that they could meet the needs of ALL six market segments? If yes, how could they do this?
  4. Do you know of any fast food chains that appear to target ONE market segment only?

Related Activities

External Information

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