It’s no surprise to find Subway and Panera Bread ranked high on the top 10 dining chains with the best perception by American consumers who support healthy eating the most.
But you may not have expected a slew of restaurants famous for their donuts, pancakes, pasta and ice cream.
In consumer perception research firm YouGov BrandIndex’s first ranking of dining chains by healthy eating advocates age 18 and over, sharing the top 10 with Subway (#1) and Panera Bread (#3) are Dairy Queen, Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Wendy’s, Applebee’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin Robbins and IHOP.
Even more impressive: seven out of these 10 restaurants also rank in the top 10 for quality perception by the same demographic.
A number of the top 10 chains have added and sometimes promoted healthy menu selections to reflect the country’s shift into better eating habits. For example, Applebee’s has a whole section of their menu devoted to items under 600 calories, Olive Garden offers low calorie selections at lunch and dinner, while last month, both Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins announced they were cutting back on salt, sugar and calories on their menus.
15,000 adults age 18 and over, who consider healthy eating “important” or “very important,” were interviewed by YouGov BrandIndex over the past 90 days for this research, with an excellent margin of error of +/- 2.5%.
For its main perception ranking, YouGov BrandIndex used its General Impression score, which asks respondents: "Overall, which of these brands do you have a positive or negative impression?”