According to the recently released 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend Study, Subway Restaurants is America's top-rated quick-service restaurant brand. This marks the eighth year in a row that Subway has ranked highest in this category.
"Subway's consistently high ranking in the Harris Poll EquiTrend study clearly indicates that consumers are graduating from just saying they're interested in better nutrition choices in restaurants to actually changing their purchase behavior," said Mary Bouchard, VP of Consumer Goods, Retail and Restaurant Research at Harris Interactive. "The media spotlight on obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, and the importance of making better meal choices has driven growth in lower calorie/better nutrition dishes being offered in restaurants. These study results show just how strongly Subway's positioning around fast and healthy meal choices is resonating with consumers."
For the second year in a row, Dairy Queen is No. 2, and Wendy's is No. 3 in the poll.
Five Guy's Burgers and Fries made its debut at No. 4, with strong performance on several brand-equity metrics. Chick-fil-A, also an EquiTrend newcomer, ranks fifth, followed by McDonald's and Burger King respectively, rounding out those brands above the category average.
Retail pizza brands
For the first time in the eight years the Harris Poll EquiTrend has been measuring brand equity for retail pizza brands, Pizza Hut has not taken the top slot. For 2012, Papa John's is the Harris Poll Brand of the Year based on the brand's strong quality scores. This marks the first year that consumers say they are more likely to purchase pizza from Papa John's than from Pizza Hut.
New category: coffee & quick service
Einstein Bagels topped Dunkin Donuts to become the 2012 Brand of the Year in the newly minted category, Coffee & Quick Service Restaurants. Einstein Bagels edged out Dunkin Donuts on two key attributes of brand equity: quality and purchase consideration.
The study was conducted online from Jan. 31 through Feb. 20, 2012 and analyzed the responses of more than 38,500 consumers on key measures of brand health, including how well the public knows a brand, how positively they think of the brand and their consideration to do business with or donate to a brand.
Read more about trends and statistics.