Since the start of the Great Recession, limited-service restaurants have sought to entice casual-dining customers to trade down to their quick-service and fast-casual offerings, and a new report from YouGov BrandIndex has found that several limited-service brands are positioning themselves to successfully lure those guests away.
Based on thousands of consumer interviews, New York-based BrandIndex identified brands such as Subway, Wendy’s and Chipotle Mexican Grill as ideally positioned to attract casual-dining customers. Those chains scored the highest among limited-service brands in terms of BrandIndex’s proprietary quality score and value score.
The consumer research firm’s senior vice president, Ted Marzilli, also noted that Taco Bell, Domino’s Pizza and Long John Silver’s were among the brands that improved both metrics in the past 180 days.
Consumers in all segments, not just restaurants, remain willing to try brands from lower tiers if they are convinced that those brands offer a comparable product or service at a value, Marzilli said.
“We’ve noticed less brand loyalty and more people trading down to store brands in other retail segments,” he said. “In restaurants, some of those folks who have traded down from casual dining and are eating at QSRs more frequently — these are not mutually exclusive segments anymore. There’s probably a lot of crossover, and that’s an opportunity for those QSR chains.”
Not limited by service style
By plotting chains based on their latest value and quality scores, BrandIndex found Subway, Wendy’s and Chipotle as the limited-service trio likely to appeal to casual-dining customers.
BrandIndex calculated the scores by interviewing 5,000 consumers per weekday, asking for each brand two questions: “Does this brand give you good value for what you pay?” and “Is this brand high-quality or low-quality?”
Negative responses are subtracted from positive ones, and a moving average is tabulated on a scale from negative 100 to positive 100, with a zero value denoting a completely neutral perception for a brand’s quality or value. The researchers then limited the data to responses only from survey respondents who had visited a casual-dining restaurant in the past month.
A second trio of Papa John’s Pizza, Pizza Hut and Arby’s was clustered behind the three top performers when accounting for combined value and quality scores.
Domino’s Pizza, which has made improving its food quality a major focus of its brand proposition over the past three years, lagged its two major competitors on both metrics. However, a separate chart from BrandIndex showed that Domino’s, Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s have made of the best improvements related to consumer perception in the past 180 days...
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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