Chick-Fil-A's perception with fast food eaters nationwide has taken a significant hit in most regions of the US, including the South where most of its restaurants are located, since president and COO Dan Cathy's perceived anti-gay remarks on July 16th.
In the Midwest, Chick-Fil-A's perception jumped up for a week and has tapered off to where it was before the interview was published.
As the controversy has snowballed, the company's overall consumer brand health with fast food eaters has dropped to its lowest levels since at least mid-August 2010.
It is also the first time Chick-Fil-A has sunk below the fast food consumer perception average of the top QSR restaurant chains.
Chick-Fil-A was one of the top five best perceived QSR restaurant chains in the U.S. over the first half of this year, according to YouGov BrandIndex data.
Chick-Fil-A and the Top National QSR Sector were measured with YouGov BrandIndex's Index score, the company's flagship brand health measurement. The Index score is an average of key scores measuring quality, impression, value, reputation, satisfaction and willingness to recommend. All measurements were filtered for adults 18+ who have eaten fast food in the past month. The Top National QSR sector average includes such brands as Pizza Hut, Arby's, Papa John's, Domino's, Taco Bell, KFC, McDonald's, Burger King, and Long John Silver's.
YouGov BrandIndex measurement scores range from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.
On July 16th, the day the Baptist Press published its Dan Cathy interview, Chick-Fil-A's Index score was 65, a very substantial 19 points above the Top National QSR Sector average score that day of 46.
Four days later, Chick-Fil-A had fallen to 47 score, three points below the Top National QSR Sector average score of 50. This past Wednesday, Chick-Fil-A had a 39 score compared to the Top National QSR Sector average score of 43.
YouGov BrandIndex respondents in the South took Chick-Fil-A from an Index score of 80 on July 16th to its current 44. Chick-Fil-A's biggest drop took place in the Northeast, where it went from 76 to 35, a difference of 41 points.
Fast food eaters in the Midwest was the only part of the country which drove Chick-Fil-A's perception higher, moving from a 45 score on July 16th to a 70 two days later, staying elevated, and the dropping back to where it was before the interview was published.