What America Loves To Eat: Subway Continues to Eat Competitors’ Lunch in 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend Study; Papa John’s Pizza Dethrones Pizza Hut for The First Time

Panera, Maggiano’s Little Italy and Einstein Bagels are top in their categories

New York  (RestaurantNews.com)  Subway Restaurants is America’s top-rated quick-service restaurant brand, according to the recently released 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend(SM) study. This is the eighth year in a row that Subway has ranked highest in this category.

Really choosing better nutrition
“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, Vice President of Consumer Goods, Retail and Restaurant Research at Harris Interactive. “For some time, the media spotlight on obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, and the importance of making better meal choices away from home, has driven growth in the range and number of lower calorie/better nutrition dishes being offered in all types of restaurants.  These study results show just how strongly Subway’s positioning around fast and healthy meal choices is resonating with consumers.”

Dairy Queen continues to follow behind Subway for the second year, with Wendy’s also holding its third-place position. Coming in fourth, study newcomer Five Guy’s Burgers and Fries is not far behind these two brands, 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.

Papa John’s Pizza takes Top Spot for First Time
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 EquiTrend Pizza Brand of the Year. While many consumers are not as familiar with Papa John’s as with Pizza Hut or Domino’s, the brand’s quality scores have been strong for many years. But 2012 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
Study newcomer Einstein Bagels displaced the perennially popular, Dunkin Donuts, to become the 2012 Brand of the Year in the newly minted category, Coffee & Quick Service Restaurants. While Einstein Bagels is not as well known as Dunkin Donuts, it edges out Dunkin Donuts on two key attributes of brand equity: Quality and Purchase Consideration.

Casual Dining: American & Italian style
The Harris Poll EquiTrend study breaks down Casual Dining Restaurants into two categories: American and Italian. For the second year in a row, Panera Bread Restaurant ranks as the top American Casual Dining Restaurant, while Maggiano’s Little Italy Restaurant took the lead as top-rated Italian Casual Dining Restaurant, edging out Olive Garden.

Other Casual American Restaurants ranking above average included Longhorn Steakhouse, which moves into second after a significant improvement in brand equity this year. Bonefish Grill ranks third in 2012, followed by Outback Steakhouse, Applebee’s and IHOP.

About Harris Poll EquiTrend ®
Harris Poll EquiTrend® is a leading Brand Equity tracking study conducted by Harris Interactive that measures and compares brand health for more than 1,500 brands. The study was conducted online from January 31 through February 20, 2012 and analyzes the responses of over 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. Each brand is rated 1,000 times among respondents who are familiar with the brand. Harris Interactive has conducted its Harris Poll EquiTrend study regularly since 1989, and can offer yearly trended data from 2005. The Equity Score, a key take-away from Harris Poll EquiTrend, has been validated against financial performance by Georgetown University.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The Harris Poll EquiTrend® study results disclosed in this release may not be used for advertising, marketing or promotional purposes without the prior written consent of Harris Interactive.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

For a complete listing of all the brands covered in the study, contact Corporate Communications at 212-539-9600 or press@harrisinteractive.com.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom and syndicated market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of syndicated offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client’s research investment.  Serving clients in more than 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of global partners, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.


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