Greggs, McDonald’s, JD Wetherspoon and brands from Mitchells & Butlers are the best-loved food and drink operators among the public, according to new research.
The 2019 Brand Momentum Report from CGA and Stone & River highlights convenience, service and differentiation as the most important factors when it comes to brand loyalty, while underinvestment and inconsistent location strategy are said to drive consumers away.
Miller & Carter, the steakhouse brand from Mitchells & Butlers leads in the restaurant category, driven by its higher quality and simplified proposition. In a sector hit by CVA’s and site closures in the past 12 months, the report said it is those businesses with a readily understood proposition, such as Cote, Five Guys and Ask Italian, that are standing out from the crowd.
Nando’s is in second place due to its continued expansion and effective marketing campaign, while Cote, Five Guys and Bella Italia complete the line-up.
For the second year, McDonald’s tops the quick service restaurants (QSR) category, having continued to drive investment in its restaurants and digital innovation, closely followed by Leon, highlighting the growing popularity of healthy and fresh options for consumers.
Innovation and improved coffee offer also ensures Greggs achieves best momentum in the food on the go category, while Pret A Manger drops out of the top five due to negative publicity and a perceived lack of investment in its proposition.
Stonehouse Pizza & Carvery, also from Mitchells & Butler, tops the pub restaurant category for the second year running, while JD Wetherspoon ranks highest among high-street bar brands, with consumers appreciating its wide demographic appeal, cheap drinks and product consistency. All Bar One, which has successfully tapped into the premiumisation trend, Revolution, Pitcher & Piano and Slug and Lettuce complete the top five.
Karl Chessell, business unit director for retail and food at CGA, said: “Building momentum is so important for brands in the ultra-competitive world of eating and drinking out – but it can be very elusive to achieve. Our report reveals many of its secrets – learning from this is essential for brands looking to build momentum of their own in 2019 and beyond.”
Molly Johnson-Jones, head of strategy at Stone & River, added: “Our report shows a clear correlation between those brands that have invested in the customer experience, their proposition and their staff, and those performing more strongly in the report. With so many headwinds to contend with, investing in areas such as menus, staff and environment presents a real opportunity to achieve genuine differentiation with customers.”