What is in this article?:
- Subway leads ranking of best-perceived restaurant brands
- Chick-fil-A, Papa John's draw public ire
- Taco Bell, Little Caesars improve perceptions
Due to public backlash to company actions, brands like Chick-fil-A and Papa John’s Pizza, which held top spots in 2011, dropped out of the top five in 2012.
Taco Bell, Little Caesars improve perceptions
Other brands significantly improved their perceptions with consumers in 2012, including top gainers Taco Bell and Little Caesars, which each garnered a four-point gain in the year.
Taco Bell’s annualized buzz score rose to 16 from 12 last year. The brand had battled back from negative perceptions about the quality of its seasoned beef, stemming from a consumer lawsuit brought against the brand and dismissed in 2011. Taco Bell went on to introduce some breakthrough products in 2012, however, including the Doritos Locos Tacos and the Cantina Bell menu.
“Taco Bell recovered nicely from a negative the year before,” Marzilli said, “and they’ve hit quite well on their two or three most recent new-product introductions and campaigns.”
Little Caesars’ buzz score in 2012 went from 10 to 14, he said, based largely on the strength of the chain’s return to national TV advertising, with new commercials promoting its $5 Hot-N-Ready pizza.
“I think advertising does work … but it’s a different question if you ask, ‘Have I changed your opinion?’” Marzilli said. “When brands advertise more, it can improve buzz in a significant way, but that’s only the first hurdle and often the easiest hurdle.”
Getting into customers’ consideration set against competitors who advertise more often would be the challenge for Little Caesars, he said. “That’s the challenge for a brand that hasn’t advertised in some time. You have to hit people repeatedly to stay top of mind.”
The other big gainers for the year were Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Jimmy John’s, which each improved their annualized buzz scores two points compared with 2011, and Wendy’s, which gained one point from a year earlier.