The people have spoken – and they trust Chick-fil-A.
The chicken-centric chain seized the top spot on a new ranking of most-trusted fast food brands during the coronavirus pandemic, flying past the competition to be most strongly associated with fulfillment and indulgence.
According to MBLM’s latest Brand Intimacy COVID Study, Chick-fil-A had the strongest “brand intimacy” – i.e., greatest emotional connection with consumers – across the fast-food industry in 2020. In ranked order, the chain was trailed by McDonald’s, Starbucks, KFC, Dunkin’, Dominos, Pizza Hut, Subway, Taco Bell and Wendy’s.
Chick-fil-A held the crown for another year running, as the restaurant was also #1 on the Brand Intimacy report for the fast-food set in 2019.
With fast-food consumption reportedly up 37% since the pandemic began, Chick-fil-A’s popular reputation positioned it to win, as the chain yields “significantly stronger associations” with fulfillment and indulgence than the rest of the pack.
“Despite daily consumption increases, the fast food industry has been severely affected by stay-at-home orders and initial closings. However, consumers have been more emotionally connected to fast food brands during the pandemic,” said Mario Natarelli, managing partner, MBLM, in a news release issued Tuesday. “As we return to ‘normal’ life, fast food brands should find a way to reference what we have all been through together and how they have reliably comforted us through this crisis.”
In other notable findings, MBLM said that that fast food performs better with men than women, and with younger consumers than older consumers.
Moving forward, the study speculated that enhanced technological updates to the fast-food dining experience will remain on the menu long after the pandemic is past us. Since March, customers have relied on mobile ordering, touchless pickup and delivery to sate their cravings – and MLBM suggested that the more streamlined brands make their digital ordering experience, the better.
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