The Gondola-owned restaurant group came out as the 29th most popular brand overall in the UK according to The Beans Group's Youth 100 report - a list of the most 'liked' or 'loved' brands by people in the 18 to 24 age bracket - ahead of Nando's which came in at 55.
Wagamama, GBK and Prezzo came outside the top 100 but did receive relatively high scores when presented to those surveyed, according to The Beans Group, which picked 400 brands and asked young people to state their feelings towards them, before awarding them a score.
Luke Mitchell, head of youth strategy at The Beans Group said it was important to survey young people and document the findings for brands because they were the 'key to numerous markets' and, importantly, had disposable cash to spend.
“Eighteen to 24s are an influential, highly social, open-minded and ambitious group. Many of the top performing brands identify their passions and find a role within them. Others win simply by focussing on good value and great service, two qualities that young people rate highly in a brand," he added.
Despite topping a list of restaurant brands, Pizza Express was not the most popular among the eating out-of-home brands. The pizza operator was just beaten by pub group JD Wetherspoon, which came in at 28 while bakers Gregg's hit the list at 19 and pizza takeaway chain Domino's at 22. Subway and McDonald's were also in the top 100.
However, Emma Woods, marketing director at Pizza Express, said the group was encouraged by the findings: "We’re really pleased to have been recognised by young people and are delighted that our pizzas are hitting the spot," she said.
The news comes in the same week that Pizza Express added new dishes to its menu and started a new marketing campaign called Fresh, to emphasise the fact that dishes are made from scratch for customers when they order.
New menu additions include the Calzone Proscuitto Pesto, a folded pizza filled with salted ham hock, roasted mushroom, red onions, mozzarella and baby spinach in a gruyere, parmesan and pesto sauce served with a fresh salad, which has been created by the group's master pizzaiolo Antenor Siqueira and polenta chips.
The company has also added Polpette Piccante, a pasta dish made from meatballs covered in a spicy Bolognese sauce and finished with fresh rocket, basil and shaved grana padano to its menu and a specially-blended Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc to its wine list.
Woods said: “Bringing fresh innovation to our menu is hugely important to PizzaExpress, especially in the run up to the festive period. We’ve been working on ways of introducing Calzone to our restaurants for some time so we’re particularly excited by its arrival."