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As the quick-service burger and Mexican sectors continue to revamp their value menus, consumers seem to be increasingly choosing pizza instead. According to new research from YouGov, consumers believe burger chains still offer the best value, but pizza has made large strides in the past six months.
YouGov's BrandIndex data, which includes daily brand consumer perceptions, shows the burger chains' value perception lead has been eroding since early October and now maintain a "razor-thin" margin over pizza chains, which have been surging.
YouGov research shows after years of marketing their meals as a great deal, the burger sector has been trying to wean consumers off dollar menus: McDonald's November roll-out of its "Dollar Menu And More" which contains more items above $1 than before, Burger King's addition of a $1.29 Whopper Jr. and Wendy's morphing its 99-cent menu into "Right Price Right Size" with items priced up to $2.
Conversely, since July 1, the pizza sector ran up from a distant fourth place to eclipse both Mexican and chicken sectors to second the burger sector. Pizza brands have been aggressively promoting discounts throughout the fall, especially on NFL broadcasts. Examples include Pizza Hut's "$10 Any Pizza Any Size Any Toppings" and Little Caesar's new $8 deep dish and $5 "Hot 'n' Ready" pies.
The chicken sector, including Chick-Fil-A, KFC and Church's, has not budged value perception as much in the past five months.
However, the Mexican sector — which includes Taco Bell, Chipotle, Qdoba, Baja Fresh and others — saw a significant value perception dip throughout the summer, a bounce back in September and early October, and now has been tapering off again, putting it behind the other three. Taco Bell had been tinkering with a "$1 Cravings Menu" in a few cities. Chipotle's CEO, Jack Hartung told CNBC in November that it hadn't changed menu prices in more than two years, but anticipated hikes next year.
Approximately 15,000 fast food eaters were interviewed for this YouGov BrandIndex research from July 1 to Dec. 3.
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