YouGov says the perceptions of both restaurant chains among consumers suffered mightily in the wake of those comments. The head of Denny's also said they would raise prices in the wake of Obamacare, but the perception of that chain was already low and did fall as dramatically as the other two.
Papa John’s, Applebee’s, and Denny’s were measured with YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score, which asks respondents, "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?" Results were filtered adults 18+ who have eaten at casual dining restaurants in the past month.
Papa John’s Buzz score high point for the month came on Election Day – November 6th – with a score of 32. Eight days later, the score had dropped 10 points down to 22, when the spam text lawsuit was unveiled. A few days later, Papa John’s dropped below Pizza Hut’s score and is presently at 4.
Applebee’s had a 35 Buzz score on the eve of Election Day, when a few days later, Apple-Metro CEO Zane Tankel told Fox Business Network he won’t build more restaurants or hire more people. By November 17th, Applebee’s score had fallen 20 points. As of this past Thursday, their score was 5.
After Denny’s franchisee John Metz’s Obamacare comments on November 17th, the chain’s buzz score dropped from 10 down to zero nine days later. However, they have since bounced back to 6, a higher score than both Papa John’s and Applebee’s.