Catching consumers' eye is important for any restaurant brand, but ensuring those viewers are hungry is arguably a top priority.
To keep a pulse on which restaurant chains spur the biggest cravings, Technomic regularly asks diners which brands' ads make them hungry and compiles the data through its Consumer Brand Metrics program.
Here are the top five hunger-inducing advertisers of the moment, in reverse rank order.
5. Carl’s Jr.
The quick-service chain and sister brand Hardee’s are known for ads featuring bikini-clad women chowing down on big burgers—often in slow motion, making sure viewers get a good look at the individual ingredients in each burger, as well as the women eating them, a raunchy marketing strategy the chain embraces.
Last year, Carl’s Jr. ran an ad with model Charlotte McKinney walking through an outdoor market, seemingly naked and covered only by suggestive fruit (it is later revealed that she's wearing a bikini). This past summer, the burger chain released a Bacon 3-Way Burger “Fantasy” commercial with three models.
Caution: Carl’s Jr. ads may be unsuitable for work.
In 2015, Wendy’s resurrected its classic “Where’s the beef?” slogan from the ‘80s. Instead of using the slogan to highlight the size of its patties, Wendy’s repurposed it to underscore its never-frozen North American beef. True to its focus on beef, Wendy’s commercials generally feature patties on the grill or at close range, allowing consumers to see the contours of the meat.
3. Golden Corral
Golden Corral last year tapped comedian Jeff Foxworthy to promote its summer Breakfast for Lunch and Dinner campaign. Foxworthy has stayed on as a spokesman, lending a flair of Americana to the brand's Golden Bill of Rights campaign and the Decision 2016 campaign it ran during election season. Golden Corral’s buffet is featured in most of its ads, giving viewers a sense of the wide variety of menu items available at each location.
2. Red Lobster
Red Lobster frames its offerings as a treat to splurge on, asking consumers to indulge in what it describes as a decadent offering of seafood. The food in the brand’s ads is usually shown at its last stages of preparation, with crab legs being cracked or a lemon being squeezed over a bed of shrimp.
An underpinning of the chain's TV ads, Popeyes’ spokeswoman Annie is often shown under a large tree, praising the brand's most recent deal or promotion. And she's usually not alone in the endeavor—whether she's joined by a small crowd of millennials at a picnic table or a group walking around a Louisiana city block. (Louisiana has been a central part of the chain’s positioning since it rebranded to Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in 2008.)
Today’s Popeyes commercials often include slow motion shots of fried chicken falling through the air as bits of the chicken fly off, accentuating the meat’s flaky texture.