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For three years running, the quick-service segment, including Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts, and McDonald’s, is considered one of the simplest industries by U.S. consumers (ranking No. 2 out of 25 industries) according to results from the third annual Global Brand Simplicity Index.
The study, released by global strategic branding firm Siegel+Gale, also found that despite their simplicity, quick-service restaurants stand to gain $2.6 billion more from consumers who said they are willing to pay more for even simpler experiences.
Subway earned the coveted No. 1 position as the simplest brand in the U.S., having positioned itself in the “eat healthy” territory long before its fast-food competitors made a move.
Dunkin’ Donuts ranked No. 2 with an unmistakably simple emphasis on product and a brand experience baked right into its name: donuts and the coffee to dunk them in.
While McDonald’s and Starbucks, which came in at No. 8 and No. 9, fared well, Burger King and KFC came in last in the category.
This is evidence of a trend toward healthier options. McDonald’s recently added calorie counts to its menus and is pressuring others to do the same.
Burger King and KFC also fell behind as consumers expressed that Burger King had too many choices and did not have a “clear price message.” They also expressed doubts about the quality of the food at KFC.
Fifty percent of respondents said that they perceived dining at local, non-chain restaurants to be the simplest dining experience, while only about 5 percent of consumers felt global restaurants are simplest.
In the U.S., simplicity in dining is connected to unique, personal dining experiences and a strong desire to support owner-run businesses.