Fast(er) food fraud: Why QSRs can’t slow down on Digital Trust and Safety

Consumer expectations for convenience have increased significantly across a variety of markets – and quick-service restaurants (QSRs) are no exception. Quite the opposite, in fact; recent reports show that about 33% of today’s dining experiences involve some type of smart device, making fast food even faster with pre-order options, in-house kiosks, and new services competing in the delivery space. 

Yet the rise in these convenience-driven programs also introduces possible security gaps that put consumers at greater risk of fraud, which impacts customer satisfaction and long term loyalty. To dig deeper into the consumer perception of quick-service restaurant fraud, Sift surveyed consumers across the United States about their use of these services, their experiences with QSR mobile apps, and their concerns about fast food fraud.

Consumers want convenience, not complexity

It should come as no surprise that QSR customers expect experiences that are fast and seamless, with almost 40% of consumers reporting their number one frustration when ordering online and through mobile is experiencing a complicated login process and/or too many steps associated with accessing their account to place an order. But speed certainly doesn’t trump security – only 13% of survey respondents cited delayed order delivery as a factor when deciding to place future orders from the same QSR or third party delivery app. In fact, the survey found that consumers expect QSRs to prioritize security equal to their service-related demands. Here’s what we learned: 

  • Over half of survey respondents – 62% – are concerned that their interactions with QSRs will lead to some type of fraud, whether it’s stolen payment information, account takeover, hijacked loyalty rewards points, or fake reviews
  • 49% are most concerned about their credit card data being stolen
  • 41% are worried about account takeover (ATO)

This makes the margin of error for QSRs particularly narrow. Brands that don’t make their customers feel safe stand to lose big when it comes to customer loyalty and associated revenue–over 1/3 of consumers reported that they would abandon a QSR, never to return, if they experienced any type of fraud or account tampering. When considering operational expenses and optimization, serving a fraudster doesn’t just lose QSRs legitimate customers and the future profits they could provide–it wastes time, resources, and eventually has a significant impact on their bottom line.

Even more alarming for QSRs are the 49% of respondents who said they’d hold the restaurant or delivery service directly responsible for any fraudulent activity resulting from an interaction with one of the two. Finally, and most concerning for these types of merchants, is that 67% of respondents would reconsider placing a future order with a business if their accounts were compromised in any way — something they’d have no trouble doing, considering the significant amount of consumer choice in the QSR market.

With so much on the line–profits, customer loyalty, brand reputation, and proprietary data–what was once merely a consideration for QSRs has become an urgent need. They must prioritize fraud prevention and consumer protection; customers are unwilling to give businesses any grace when fraud occurs, and will simply seek out vendors that have made Digital Trust & Safety a clear priority. 

Consumers’ only concern when they interact with a QSR should be how much they enjoy the food or drink they’ve purchased, not whether their data and personal information are being used by fraudsters. QSRs that adopt a holistic approach to Digital Trust & Safety can inspire brand loyalty, protect revenue, and maintain healthy, steady growth while providing their customers with the secure, seamless experiences they’re hungry for. 

Click here to explore additional industry insights and critical fraud prevention considerations in our new ebook, “Digital Trust & Safety for QSRs: Turning the tables on fraud.”


Sift commissioned a series of Dynata surveys in September and October 2019 polling 1,000 consumers each in the US ages 18 and above.

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Source: Sift Science