Coffee chain Starbucks remains the most valuable restaurant brand after its brand value increased by 21% since last year to US$39.3 billion (£30.4 billion), it has been claimed.
Over the last year, the brand has broadened its footprint geographically and through strategic partnerships, which has heightened its worth, according to independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance.
Starbucks has doubled the amount of stores it operates across China, set up a joint venture with Indian non-alcoholic drinks brand Tata Global Beverages, struck a partnership with Uber Eats enabling customers to have hot coffee delivered to their doorstep and entered the packaged coffee market through a deal with Swiss giant Nestlé.
McDonald’s has maintained its second position closely behind Starbucks with a brand value of US$31.5 billion (£24.4 billion), up 27% from last year.
The top two brands leave the rest of the ranking far behind, with KFC pulling ahead into third place following 67% growth to US$13.5 billion (£10.4 billion).
Aside from calculating overall brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. Along with the level of revenues, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.
The world’s most iconic fast food chain, McDonald’s, is the only AAA+ brand in the restaurant sector, with a brand strength of 90.3 out of 100 versus the 86.2 out of 100 rating for Starbucks.
It has continued to vigorously improve its reputation in the market, abolishing the use of artificial preservatives, colours, and flavourings.
McDonald’s has reduced its workforce significantly over the past five years and has also increased its locations to circa 38,000, serving 69 million customers worldwide per day.
Its expansion programme has seen the company reinforce its presence in the Nordic region and increase visibility in Australia and Russia. Over the past year, the company has seen its brand value increase by 27%.
The most valuable brands in the ranking have grown considerably faster than those in the bottom half of the table. The top 13 restaurant brands with values of US$2.5 billion (£1.9 billion) or more have achieved an average growth of 36% year-on-year, compared to only 1% for the remaining twelve brands.
The most rapidly growing brand in the sector is Taco Bell, its brand value rising by an impressive 83% to US$3.3 billion (£2.5 billion).
Similarly, franchises Pizza Hut and Dunkin’ each grew by 73%, taking their values to US$5.4 billion (£4.2 billion) and US$4.6 billion (£3.5 billion) respectively.
Dunkin’s success can be attributed to their recent rebrand effort, slimming down its traditional brand name.
David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, said: “The restaurant sector continues to polarise, creating ever more larger brands that are not only very visible, but also very valuable. In a highly competitive marketplace middle sized and small players need to focus on understanding their customers’ tastes and habits to maintain their loyalty and fend off growing threat from supersized chains.”
Apart from the UK’s Costa Coffee, only two non-US brands make the Brand Finance Restaurants 25 2019 ranking. Restaurant Brands International-owned Tim Hortons is ranked sixth (up 10% to US$5.5 billion), with a brand presence across 14 countries.
Jollibee of the Philippines, ranked 15th with a brand value up 11% to US$ 1.7 billion, has been touted as one to watch. Jollibee is a fast food brand rising through the ranks with its diverse menu of US and Asian inspired dishes that set it apart from other high street fast food chain brands.
With its devoted following in the Philippines and international expansion across Italy, the UK, Spain and Guam, Jollibee could well become the next KFC, according to Brand Finance. The brand’s visionary CEO Ernesto Tanmantiong is to be credited with steering the chain towards achieving global brand status.