The photo of a Burger King employee standing in two lettuce bins went viral quick and has since caused consumer perception of the brand to decline sharply. According to YouGov BrandIndex, the BK fallout is similar to the drop experienced by Domino's in 2009 when a YouTube video captured employees egregiously violating health code standards.
It took Domino's nearly four weeks for its consumer perception to recover from the incident after the company's president posted videos defending the chain's quality.
By the end of last week, four days after the photo spread on the web, Burger King's perception had sunk well below both the top national QSR sector and the top hamburger QSR sector.
In response to the incident, Burger King released the following statement: "The franchisee has taken swift action to investigate this matter and terminated the three employees involved in the incident."
Burger King was measured with YouGov BrandIndex's Buzz score, which asks respondents: "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?" YouGov BrandIndex measurement scores range from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.
Burger King's buzz score declined from 19 on July 17 down to 4 on July 20, marking a drop of 15 points in a few days. By comparison, Domino's fell from 20 to -1 in the four days throughout the YouTube controversy. Domino's returned to the 20 mark a few weeks later.
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