Nando’s revealed as Britain’s most popular casual dining concept

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cent, Casual dining, Eating

More diners are choosing to eat at Nando's than at any other major restaurant or pub brand in the UK
More diners are choosing to eat at Nando's than at any other major restaurant or pub brand in the UK
Nando’s, the fast-casual Portuguese chicken restaurant chain, has topped the eating-out popularity stakes, with more people choosing to eat at one of its sites than at any other major restaurant or pub brand.

Figures from the latest Peach BrandTrack research show that, when asked which would be their first choice to eat, if all were in the same location, 10.8 per cent of consumers picked Nando’s from a list of 15 leading pub and casual dining brands.

Wetherspoon’s was ranked a close second (10.4 per cent), with Pizza Hut (8.4 per cent), Harvester (8 per cent) and Frankie & Benny’s (7.9 per cent) following behind.

Peter Martin, founder of Peach Factory, which produces the Peach BrandTrack survey, said: “Nando’s is beginning to achieve that virtuous circle of scale and preference, and as today’s under-35s age, they will likely take that brand preference with them, thereby securing the brand’s strength into the future. Its mass market appeal means it is a real competitor for all would-be casual dining market leaders.”

In London, Nando’s is overwhelmingly the preferred brand (with 17.7 per cent putting it first), as it is among the under 35s, and particularly students. Among 18-24s, 18.8 per cent would choose it first, alongside 15.6 per cent of 24-35s.

“Nando’s is also the brand that is doing most to keep a strong base among young customers – while other competitors’ customer bases begin to age,” added Martin.

Most used brand...

Nando’s is a chain that is also gaining both public awareness and new customers, according to the same BrandTrack research – moving it up the ‘most used brand’ league table. For the first time, more people say they eat at the brand than PizzaExpress.

In all, 26.4 per cent of adults used Nando’s at least once in the previous six months, compared to 26.0 per cent using PizzaExpress and 24.9 per cent using Frankie & Benny’s. In the mainstream informal eating-out market, Nando’s is placed fourth in terms of the size of its customer-base, behind only Wetherspoon’s (with 43.4 per cent using it to eat-out), Pizza Hut (40.6 per cent) and Harvester (29.1 per cent).

Peach BrandTrack survey results

If the following brands were available in the same location, which would be your first choice to eat at? (The top 10 from the list of 15, ranked by percentage of adults choosing each brand)

  • Nandos - 10.8%
  • Wetherspoons - 10.4%
  • Pizza Hut - 8.4%
  • Harvester - 8.0%
  • Frankie & Benny’s - 7.9%
  • Pizza Express - 7.3%
  • TGI Fridays - 6.1%
  • Bella Italia - 4.7%
  • Toby - 4.6%
  • Café Rouge - 4.1%
  • Don't know - 12.5%
  • None of these - 4.1%

Britain’s top six pub and restaurant brands

(ranked by % of adults eating at in last six months)

  • Wetherspoons - 43%
  • Pizza Hut - 41%
  • Harvester - 29%
  • Nando’s - 26%
  • Pizza Express - 26%
  • Frankie & Benny's - 25%

The Peach BrandTrack survey, produced by Peach Factory, researches 5,000 GB consumers twice a year. The latest round was conducted online in May 2012.

Earlier this year, BigHospitality reported on the ‘Ones to Watch’ survey​ conducted by foodservice consultancy Horizons. The survey revealed that rapidly-expanding gourmet burger chain Byron is the fastest growing restaurant concept of the past six months, having more than trebled its portfolio in the past three years.

Byron was also voted the Best Overall Restaurant Chain​ of 2011 at the third annual R200 Awards run by Restaurant magazine.

FACEBOOK POLL:​ So, what do you think? Which restaurant chain do is most effectively capturing the casual dining market? Cast your votes in our Facebook Poll...

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