The CGA and Stone & River Brand Momentum Report provides a fascinating insight into which brands are generating the most momentum in the market right now, and what rival businesses need to do to catch up. FEJ looks at who’s setting the pace in the multi-site restaurant sector.
Foodservice operators have had to weather the storm over the past 12 months — and some have made a better fist of it than others.
Rising food, property and people costs, combined with intense competition, have presented some serious hurdles while companies have had to grapple with how issues such as delivery and new technology fit into their business.
All this can alter brand perceptions within a market, which begs the question: why do some brands flourish in tough markets, and others struggle?
The latest CGA and Stone & River Brand Momentum Report explores that by examining which brands are generating the most momentum in the market at the moment, and what rival businesses need to do to catch up.
The data, drawn largely from CGA’s exclusive Outlet Index and BrandTrack survey of British consumers, combines metrics on the opinions, awareness and loyalty to dozens of brands to create an authoritative measure of their momentum.
The restaurant category of the Brand Momentum Report is by far the most crowded — but all the signs point to this becoming less congested in the future, it suggests. Any foodservice brand needs a clear and focused proposition in order to thrive.
But since dwell time is so much longer in restaurants, consumers have more time to understand a brand’s strengths and flaws — and that is reflected in CGA’s BrandTrack results.
The top restaurant brands are all well-defined and highly differentiated propositions that offer something the rest of the market does not. Consumers have an “openness” to visiting a venue again when there’s a focused proposition or consistently good experience, according to the report.
Beyond the top five, ASK, Wagamama and Zizzi have all risen in the rankings this year, with the report noting that all three have worked to refine their proposition and reinforce their appeal to core consumers without alienating other parts of their customer base.
“Location, innovation and service are all crucial in the restaurant sector. Some major brands have expanded too rapidly into locations that did not have enough of their core consumers, or that were cheap to enter but damaged their brand perceptions by association. Some of these restaurants have recovered by exiting some of these locations or adjusting their propositions,” the report states.
It suggests innovation has been somewhat lacking in the sector until the past couple of years but some of the most popular propositions are the simplest.
“Miller & Carter’s offer of good quality and affordable steak is an example of how a short menu can flourish. Service is another fundamental in restaurants, but has been compromised by some restaurants because they assume consumers want speed and a minimum of communication. But while reducing order-taking staff can make sense in the QSR sector, good service can set a restaurant apart from the competition.”
Brands towards the bottom of the rankings tend to be those that are not sufficiently differentiated, that have not kept menus up to date with consumer trends, or that are not providing the quality of service that people expect.
For more information, visit www.cga.co.uk/all-reports
CGA and Stone & River use three metrics to measure industry brands:
Metric 1: Awareness Trend
A measure of how consumer awareness of the brand has improved. This figure shows the percentage change in the number of consumers who are aware of the brand over the last three years. Brands whose awareness levels have risen the most score highest.
Metric 2: Next Consumer
An index of consumers who would consider visiting the brand in the future versus lapsed users of a brand. Lapsed consumers are defined by people who have not visited a brand in the past six months, but who have done so in the past two years.
Metric 3: Opinion index
A measure of how consumers’ opinions about brands are changing. Scores are based on the difference between the number of people who say their opinion of a brand has changed positively in the last year and the number who have had a negative opinion change.
Three additional measures are used in the restaurants segment of the report to provide further context to what is a fragmented sector: a ‘Supply Trend’ measure used to monitor the levels of openings and closures of new sites over the last three years; an ‘Awareness’ score based on the percentage of consumers who are aware of the brand in CGA’s latest BrandTrack survey; and a ‘Loyalty’ score indicating the number of consumers who are likely to both revisit and recommend a brand. The metrics are then weighted to produce an overall momentum total.