Media measurement technology firm General Sentiment released its newest brand analysis, the Fall 2010 Fast Food Industry Report. The report highlights the brands that made the most significant media impact online between September and November. Despite declining nearly 20 percent since the summer, Starbucks still topped General Sentiment’s Impact Value rankings, more than doubling the totals of second and third place brands McDonald’s and Burger King. The biggest winner in Perception Value, which measures brands with a greater emphasis on the quality of the content and exposure, was Panera Bread, while Taco Cabana and Jimmy John’s were the season’s top losers.

“The emergence of smaller fast food brands as competitors to the traditional heavyweights of the industry was the most compelling finding coming out of the brand analysis,” says General Sentiment CEO Greg Artzt. “In terms of brand exposure, these smaller brands are becoming a real force in the industry as consumers have more choice in fast food than ever before.”

Chipotle Mexican Grill and Cold Stone Creamery both ranked in the Top 10 for Impact Value, which assigns positive value to all online mentions on a scale determined by Sentiment. Chipotle, which ranked fourth overall, saw its stock hit a 52-week high in late November and benefited from positive reactions to the company’s decision to open its first Asian-style eatery in 2011.

Smaller brands like Schlotzsky’s, Jersey Mike’s, and Krystal Burgers also ranked in the Top 10 for Perception Value, which measures the brand with a focus on quality of the exposure created by assigning positive value to positive mentions and negative value to negative mentions. Panera Bread took the top spot in Perception Value after it completed the nationwide rollout of its highly regarded new customer loyalty program, MyPanera.

This marks the inaugural seasonal analysis of the industry by General Sentiment, whose other industry reports include quarterly analysis of the Top 20 Global Online Brands and the Television Audience Evaluation Report, a weekly analysis of the top-performing shows on prime-time television.

Consumer Trends, Marketing & Promotions, News, Burger King, Chipotle, Cold Stone Creamery, Jersey Mike's, Jimmy John's, Krystal, McDonald's, Panera Bread, Schlotzsky's, Starbucks, Taco Cabana