RESEARCH | Staff Reporter, UK

Convenience, service and differentiation drive momentum amongst brands: report

Greggs and McDonald’s are sustaining momentum in the QSR sector.

Releasing the 2019 Brand Momentum Report, market experts CGA and Stone & River found that the two brands are sustaining their momentum in the on the go and quick service sectors, whilst JD Wetherspoon, and Mitchells & Butlers brands Stonehouse and Miller & Carter lead in high street bars, pubs, and restaurants, respectively.

According to the report, convenience, service and differentiation are the major drivers of brand momentum. Underinvestment and inconsistent location strategy, meanwhile, are among the reasons as to why operators start to lose steam.

“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," Stone & River head of strategy Molly Johnson-Jones explained.

Miller & Carter leads in the restaurant category, driven by its higher quality and simplified proposition. The research found that in a category hit by CVAs and site closures in the past 12 months, those that expand with a readily understood proposition, such as Cote, Five Guys and ASK Italian are standing out from the crowd. Nando’s rose into second place due to its continued expansion and effective marketing campaign, while Cote, Five Guys and Bella Italia follow suit.

For the second year in a row, McDonald’s tops the QSR category, in the wake of its continued investment in its restaurants and digital innovation. The brand is 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 drops out of the top five due to negative publicity and a perceived lack of investment in its proposition.

Stonehouse Pizza & Carvery 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.

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