How Applebee's captures NFL fan loyalty – A deep dive into brand metrics
April 25th, 2024, Kineree Shah

How Applebee's captures NFL fan loyalty – A deep dive into brand metrics

Applebee's Grill + Bar recently announced that it has entered into a multi-year partnership agreement with the National Football League (NFL). This positions the restaurant chain at the forefront of NFL fans' minds, making it important to evaluate how Applebee's performs within this specific demographic.

Using data from YouGov BrandIndex, we delve into Applebee's performance in the purchase funnel compared to other key players among NFL fans – Buffalo Wild Wings, Chili’s, Hooters, TGI Fridays, and Wingstop.

Stage 1: Awareness

At the top of the purchase funnel is Awareness, which measures whether consumers have ever heard of a brand. Five of six restaurants have high rates of Awareness among NFL fans, but Applebee's leads at 92%, followed closely by Chili’s at 89%.

Stage 2: Consideration

When it comes to the restaurants that NFL fans would consider dining at, Applebee's leads the pack once again with a score of 31.6, translating into a 34% conversion from Awareness to Consideration. Chili’s 28% conversion rate also shows effectiveness in retaining fan interest compared to TGI Fridays (17%) and Hooters (10%).

Stage 3: Purchase Intent

The Purchase Intent stage shows the brands consumers are most likely to dine at. Applebee's demonstrates a strong connection with NFL fans, with a 9.5 score converting to a 30% conversion rate from Consideration—the highest among the six brands. Buffalo Wild Wings and Chili's also show commendable scores with conversion rates of 24% and 25% respectively. Notably, Wingstop, despite its lower Awareness (57%), achieves a high 27% conversion rate in the Purchase Intent stage, indicating a potentially strong niche appeal among those who consider the brand.

Overall brand health among NFL fans

Having explored how different dining brands move through the purchase funnel among NFL fans, we can now take a closer look at the broader aspects of brand health. This analysis draws upon six key metrics from the YouGov BrandIndex, providing insights into the strengths and areas for improvement for each brand in the competitive dining sector.

  • Impression (how consumers view a brand): Applebee's (33.3) maintains a solid Impression score closely followed by Chili's (31.7), indicating a positive public perception. Buffalo Wild Wings (21.2), TGI Fridays (24), and Wingstop (12.3) come next, with Hooters lagging reasonably behind at 2.4.
  • Quality (whether a consumer considers a brand to represent good or poor quality): Applebee's (28.1) rises to the top again, suggesting NFL fans view its offerings as reasonably high-quality, similar to Chili's (25.7). Both outperform Buffalo Wild Wings (18.2), TGI Fridays (20.1), Wingstop (9.9), and Hooters (4).
  • Value (whether a consumer considers a brand to represent good or poor value for money): The value scores are led by Applebee's (25.5), indicating that consumers see good value for money, compared to Chili's (21.4) and TGI Fridays (12.6), Buffalo Wild Wings (10.5), and Wingstop (7.2).

  • Reputation (whether a consumer would be proud or embarrassed to work for a brand): Applebee’s (18) and Chili’s (17) are neck and neck in the scores. Next in line comes TGI Fridays (13.5), Buffalo Wild Wings (12.9), and Wingstop (6). For Hooters, this measure is the weakest of the six metrics at -8.5.
  • Satisfaction (whether consumers are currently satisfied or dissatisfied with a brand): Applebee's (30.8) is the dominant brand in this regard with Chili’s behind by 3 points (27). Both are well above Buffalo Wild Wings (15.6), TGI Fridays (18.8), Wingstop (8.6), and Hooters (8.1).
  • Recommendation (whether consumers would recommend a brand to friends and colleagues): The recommendation scores are topped by Applebee's (26.4), suggesting a higher likelihood of customers promoting the brand to others, followed by Chili's (24.4). Buffalo Wild Wings (16.8), TGI Fridays (17.6), Wingstop (9.6) lag, while Hooters, with a score of -1.4, has significant work to do in this aspect.

The data shared in this analysis is a snapshot of a specific period in time. Sports bars and brands interested in attracting NFL fans for gamedays and beyond will want to benchmark and regularly measure the impacts of their marketing throughout the season. Get in touch to understand how your brand is doing with key audiences.

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