Consumer opinion of non-burger restaurants is increasing while the brand equity of most burger restaurants is flat. Those are among the findings of the 2011 Harris Poll EquiTrend study.
The study gives Subway the nod as "Quick Serve Restaurant Brand of the Year," followed by Dairy Queen, Wendy's and McDonald's. But the companies whose brand equity is heading up are not burger places: Domino's Pizza, KFC restaurants and Taco Bell all saw positive movement.
Among casual dining restaurant chains, Panera Bread is the 2011 Brand of the Year followed by Carrabba's, Olive Garden and Maggiano's Little Italy. After that are Outback, Applebee's, Chilis, and Red Lobster.
The study, a poll of 25,100 consumers in January this year, measures equity, "consumer connection," "commitment," "brand behavior," "brand advocacy," and trust. Equity, which represents a brand's overall strength, is determined by familiarity, quality and purchase consideration.
In major beer brands, Blue Moon is number one, followed by Samuel Adams, Guinness Stout, Miller Chill, Mike's Hard, Corona Extra, Smirnoff Ice Malt, Corona Light, Michelob, Michelob Ultra, Guinness, and Heineken.
Among other products, the top water brands were Aquafina, Poland Spring, and Dasani, while the top candy brand was M&M's Plain Chocolate Candy, which won the 2011 Harris Poll EquiTrend Sweet Treat Brand of the Year. Second was Hershey's Milk Chocolate Candy Bars, and last year's highest-ranked treat, Hershey's Kisses Chocolate Candy, ranked third.
In sodas, after Sprite are 7-Up, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Sierra Mist, Diet Coke, and Sprite Zero.
Southwest Airlines was top airline brand, followed by JetBlue, Hawaiian Airlines, Delta and Alaska Air. Among major appliance manufacturers the winning brand is KitchenAid followed by Kenmore, Whirlpool and GE. New Balance is the top athletic footwear brand, in whose footsteps Sperry Top Sider, Nike, Asics and Dexter follow. Among automakers, Ford wins, followed by Chevrolet, Honda, Toyota and Nissan. Mercedes-Benz is the top luxury brand, followed by Lexus, BMW, Infiniti and Acura.