Popular chain casual dining brands were rated using YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score which asks respondents, “If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?” The survey was used to determine the perception of the casual dining chains, and how they have improved from January to June.

Olive Garden leads the casual dining sector at 23.3, showing the brand remains popular with consumers despite scrapping the decade-long slogan “When You’re Here, You’re Family” last year. Olive Garden introduced lighter options to its menu and a more modern campaign this year, adding the slogan “Taste the Lighter Side of Delicious” to its under-575 calorie dishes. Red Lobster trailed behind at 20.6 – the seafood chain has been making waves this year by modernizing its restaurant interiors and adding under more under $15 items to its menu.

Most improved buzz score was Hooters. Hooters continued an uptick in perception following a rebrand last year – the chain aimed to appeal more to women by adding salads to its menu and showing itself as more of a sports bar in its “Step into Awesome” TV spots. But Impression scores for the brand, which measures if consumers have a general positive or negative feeling about Hooters, show it remains more popular among male consumers.

A score can range from 100 to -100 and is compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.

The Buzz Rankings chart shows the brands with the highest average Buzz scores between January and July 2013. 

Casual Dining, Chain Restaurants, Industry News