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Empathica found that some chains struggled to consistently deliver across dayparts, and the discrepancies affected those brands’ overall rankings.

Krystal, which tied for the sixth-highest overall percentage at 43 percent, was the seventh-ranked chain for customer satisfaction at lunch but the 15th-ranked chain at dinner.

Jack in the Box dropped to a tie for the ninth-highest overall delighted percentage, at 36 percent, despite being the sixth-ranked chain for satisfaction at dinner. However, its strength at dinner could not offset its ranking as 13th for lunch.

Meanwhile, In-N-Out and Five Guys finished first and second, respectively, for both mealtimes, and Steak ‘n Shake, Whataburger and Culver’s rounded out the top five in both dayparts.

“I don’t have a good explanation as to why [some brands] are not consistent across dayparts,” Edwards said. “You’d have to get up close to the advertising and where their locations are. … You have to ask yourself, are you just appealing to your most loyal segment, or do you need to hit the segments where there are more opportunities?”

He pointed to Burger King as an example of a chain that has expanded its marketing focus recently, with its “Taste is King” advertising campaign and new menu items of the past 18 months trying to position the brand beyond the narrow targeting of young males via commercials that formerly featured brand mascot The King.

Though Burger King finished at the bottom of this year’s Empathica study, Edwards speculated that the gap between Burger King and the rest of the pack might have been larger had the chain not amended its marketing.

“It’s not for me to question the strategy, but upon reflection, it’s the right approach,” he said. “It takes time to change perception. These are very slow-moving entities.”

The burger segment report findings were gleaned from Empathica’s larger Quick Service Restaurant Benchmark Study, which included 62 total brands. The 10,000 participants were surveyed in March.

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN