Greggs, McDonald’s and Wetherspoons named top brands for consumers

Greggs and McDonald’s have been named the top brands within on the go and quick service sectors, while JD Wetherspoon leads the way in high street bars, according to the 2019 Brand Momentum Report from CGA and Stone and River.

The analysis of consumers’ views of dozens of big brands across the out of home eating and drinking market also found Mitchells and Butlers brands Stonehouse and Miller and Carter led the pack in pubs and restaurants, respectively.

The report identifies convenience, service and differentiation as major drivers of brand momentum, and points to underinvestment and inconsistent location strategy as among the reasons as to why operators start to lose momentum.

Miller and Carter headed the restaurant category, driven by its higher quality and simplified proposition. In a category hit by CVAs and site closures in the past 12 months, it is those expanding with a readily understood proposition, such as Cote, Five Guys and ASK Italian that are standing out from the crowd.

Nando’s rose to second place due to its continued expansion and effective marketing campaign, while Cote, Five Guys and Bella Italia completed the line-up.

For the second year, McDonald’s topped 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 attributed to Greggs’ momentum in the food on the go category, while Pret dropped out of the top five due to negative publicity and a perceived lack of investment in its proposition.

Stonehouse Pizza and Carvery topped the pub restaurant category for the second year running, while JD Wetherspoon ranked 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 and 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 and 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.”

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