Krispy Kreme is more closely associated with its fresh doughnuts than anything else, so it came as something of a surprise to learn that it’s been named 2018’s Brand of the Year for the coffee shop category in the well-respected Harris Poll’s 30th annual EquiTrend study, topping more coffee-oriented competitors Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts.
Several other food and drink categories were included in the poll: burger restaurant (Five Guys Burgers and Fries), casual dining restaurant (a tie between The Cheesecake Factory and Texas Roadhouse), ice cream and fro-yo shop (Ben & Jerry’s), Mexican restaurant (Taco Bell), pizza chain (Blaze Pizza), and sandwich shop (a tie between Panera and Subway). It was a bit (but not too much) of a surprise to see Taco Bell overtake Chipotle, and to see the comparatively small Blaze Pizza claim a spot above the big players like Domino’s and Pizza Hut.
This movement towards trusting the smaller brands more than the big ones represents a larger trend among consumers on the whole. “This is actually a time when being ‘big’ is code for being the establishment,” CEO John Gerzema said in a release. “As private label and the popularity of craft products rises, brands are now differentiated on their values, personal connection and their ability to build community.”
The annual study, which includes more than 3,000 brands across 300 categories ranging from life insurance and luxury automotive to mid-market hotel and TV network, asked more than 77,000 consumers to rate randomly selected brands for familiarity, quality, and purchase consideration. These polls, like our recent ranking of America’s 35 favorite pizza chains, can sometimes yield surprising results!