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Consumer Trends

Connecting with consumers

In addition to measuring chains’ objective attributes, Technomic also rated their connection to consumers through a series of questions designed to gauge loyalty and perception of a brand. Many of the top five chains in these categories have what some would describe as a cult following—including Ben & Jerry’s, one of the original socially conscious brands; In-N-Out Burger, which has capitalized on word-of-mouth marketing; and Chick-fil-A, a brand that can be polarizing in its beliefs but that undeniably has a passionate fan base willing to dress up as cows for free chicken sandwiches.

About the research

Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics program is a comprehensive, ongoing brand performance study that tracks the performance of leading limited-service and full-service restaurant chains by measuring the consumer experience. This study included the top 100 chains in the U.S. in terms of sales, plus additional chains that fall outside the top 100 to round out certain categories. An online questionnaire asked consumers about the importance of more than 60 attributes related to the restaurant experience, followed by questions about specific restaurant brands and recent experiences with those brands. Scores represent the percentage of respondents who strongly agree with the statements on a scale of 1 to 5.

Advertising effectiveness

Has memorable advertising, has advertising that consumers can relate to and has ads that consumers say make them hungry.

 Overall
Red Lobster36%
Olive Garden34%
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen32%
Subway32%
Sonic Drive-In32%

Emotional connection

Is a place where the customer comes first, is a restaurant consumers trust, has a likeable “personality” and has values that are similar to my own.

 Overall
Chick-fil-A43%
Cracker Barrel41%
In-N-Out Burger40%
Culver’s35%
Olive Garden34%

Brand image

Is a place where the customer comes first, is a restaurant consumers trust, has a likeable “personality” and has values that are similar to my own.

 Overall
Chick-fil-A43%
In-N-Out Burger38%
Ben & Jerry’s37%
Cracker Barrel32%
Starbucks31%

Brand loyalty

Is a place where the customer comes first, is a restaurant consumers trust, has a likeable “personality” and has values that are similar to my own.

 Overall
In-N-Out Burger50%
Papa Murphy’s49%
Chick-fil-A47%
Cracker Barrel45%
Firehouse Subs44%

 

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