Millennials beef up restaurants' brand equity: U.S. poll

Canadian Pizza
May 17, 2017
By Canadian Pizza
"The baby boomer versus millennial gap among pizza chains and Mexican restaurants may reflect boomers' needs to eat healthier and the fact that they no longer have kid palates to please," says Joan Sinopoli, vice-president of brand solutions at The Harris Poll. This could be an opporunity for brands on the healthier end of the spectrum.
"The baby boomer versus millennial gap among pizza chains and Mexican restaurants may reflect boomers' needs to eat healthier and the fact that they no longer have kid palates to please," says Joan Sinopoli, vice-president of brand solutions at The Harris Poll. This could be an opporunity for brands on the healthier end of the spectrum.
Rochester, NY – Millennials are giving higher than average brand equity points to coffee and quick-service, casual dining and chicken restaurants, according to new U.S. research from The Harris Poll, which names Papa John's Pizza, Blaze Pizza, Pizza Hut and Marco's Pizza top pizza chain brands of the year.

The annual EquiTrend Study also indicates that fast-casual Mexican and Pizza chains have notably lower brand equity among baby boomers, The Harris Poll said in a news release. According to its research, when analyzing restaurant brand equity by generation, Coffee and Quick Service Restaurant brand equity is nearly five points higher among millennials compared to baby boomers, while Casual Dining and Chicken restaurants are each four points higher.

Conversely, Pizza and Fast Casual Mexican restaurants see a marked gap among baby boomers, pushing the overall equity for these restaurant categories below average. Since brand equity tends to resist movement, the equity gains and declines among restaurant brands is significant.

"Restaurants continue to adapt to the millennial lifestyle, and advancements in ordering methods such as Starbucks' mobile app and Chick-fil-A's 'Mom Valet' are likely influencing millennials' higher brand equity scores," said Joan Sinopoli, vice president of brand solutions at The Harris Poll. "While the millennial dollar is powerful and attractive—and many are clearly enjoying their rising disposable income — baby boomers already have the cash to spend on meals out and need to be courted. The baby boomer versus millennial gap among pizza chains and Mexican restaurants may reflect boomers' needs to eat healthier and the fact that they no longer have kid palates to please – and that signals opportunity for restaurants on the healthier end of the chain continuum to target them in their messaging and menu offerings." 

The poll's top Pizza Chain Brands of the Year are Papa John's Pizza, Blaze Pizza, Pizza Hut and Marco's Pizza.

Other pizza chain brands that ranked below category average include CiCi's Pizza, Domino's Pizza and Little Caesars Pizza.

Several pizza and Italian restaurants are among Harris Poll’s top Casual Dining Restaurant Brands of the Year:

·      The Cheesecake Factory
·      Texas Roadhouse
·      Olive Garden Italian Restaurants
·      Outback Steakhouse
·      LongHorn Steakhouse
·      California Pizza Kitchen
·      IHOP (International House of Pancakes)
·      Carrabba's Italian Grill
·      Maggiano's Little Italy Restaurant
·      Chili's Grill & Bar

Other Casual Dining Restaurant brands in the study that ranked below category average include Applebee's, Bahama Breeze, Bonefish Grill, Buffalo Wild Wings, Denny's, P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Red Lobster Seafood Restaurants, Red Robin, Romano's Macaroni Grill and Italian Restaurant, Ruby Tuesday, Shoney's and TGI Fridays.

Full poll results are available here.

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