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    Subway, Starbucks, Five Guys Among Restaurant Brands of the Year

    Familiarity, quality were index factors.

    NEW YORK — Subway, Starbucks and Five Guys are among brands with the current highest equity ratings, according to the 2017 Harris Poll EquiTrend Restaurant Brands of the Year.

    The EquiTrend Brand Equity Index comprises three factors that result in a brand equity rating for each brand: familiarity, quality and purchase consideration.

    Brands that rank the highest in equity receive the Harris Poll EquiTrend "Brand of the Year" award for their respective categories. This year, more than 100,000 U.S. consumers assessed more than 4,000 brands, including 90 restaurant brands, across more than 450 categories.

    The full Brands of the Year list includes:

    • Burger Restaurant: Five Guys
    • Casual Dining Restaurant: The Cheesecake Factory
    • Chicken Restaurant: Chick-fil-A
    • Coffee & Quick Service Restaurant: Starbucks Coffee Shop
    • Fast Casual Mexican Restaurant: Moe's Southwest Grill
    • Ice Cream and FroYo Shop: Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Shop
    • Pizza Chain: Papa John's Pizza
    • Sandwich Shop: Subway

    Starbucks debuted as the coffee and quick service restaurant Brand of the Year by narrowly beating out three-time honoree Dunkin' Donuts, pulling ahead based on the strength of its high familiarity score.

    Harris Poll's research found that 11 percent of millennials and 10 percent of Generation X consumers visit Starbucks daily, higher than the generations' restaurant visit averages (5 percent millennials and 1 percent of Gen X).

    "Given the ever-present morning rush lines at Starbucks, the fact that millennials and Gen X make daily Starbucks runs might not be entirely surprising, but it is telling," said Joan Sinopoli, vice president of brand solutions at The Harris Poll. "With its engaging rewards app and high-end Starbucks Reserve brand, Starbucks is proactively pursuing millennials and quite frankly, doing it better than most right now."

    First-time burger restaurant Brand of the Year Five Guys beat out two-time honoree In-N-Out Burger, followed by Shake Shack, Wendy's, Culver's, Whataburger, McDonald's, SONIC America's Drive-In, Smashburger and Steak 'n Shake. While McDonald's holds the highest Familiarity score across all brands measured in Harris Poll's EquiTrend study, Five Guys leads the burger restaurant category in purchase consideration.

    "The burger brand category has become less fragmented, as regional brands expand and become available in more parts of the country," said Sinopoli. "This is certainly the case with Five Guys, who has shed its 'small regional player' designation as it expands its footprint and marketing budget—along with its fandom, which is a tremendous contributor to brand equity."

    Subway remained sandwich shop Brand of the Year for the seventh consecutive year. The brand has shown strong and stable equity over the last 13 years, and while it holds similar equity scores across generations, its reported frequency of visits favor younger generations, Harris Poll said.

    The 2017 Harris Poll EquiTrend Study is based on a sample of 102,617 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over surveyed online, from Dec. 30, 2016 and Feb. 21, 2017.

    Full category lists for the EquiTrend rankings are available here.

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