Pizza Express is favoured restaurant brand of 18 to 24-year-olds

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pizza express, Pizza

Pizza Express's new Calzone, which it launched last week, the same week it came out as the top restaurant brand in a poll among 18-24 year-olds
Pizza Express's new Calzone, which it launched last week, the same week it came out as the top restaurant brand in a poll among 18-24 year-olds
Pizza Express has emerged as the favourite restaurant chain of 18 to 24-year-olds, beating Nando's, Wagamama, GBK and Prezzo as the youth market's top choice when eating out. 

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.

Eating out

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. 

New menu

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."

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Discounts - killing or saving the industry?

Posted by NikAdhia,

I do not think it is solely based on their brand appeal as much as they do have relaxed casual environments perfect for groups which is how many students eat out as, if you go to Student Beans, as a member for a few years, the restaurants like GBK, Pizza Express, and others offer substantial discounts and rewards that others simply do not do. Naturally they would come out on top. It not always an active choice for a student, it may just be based on budget.

I do believe the industry should not in fact be shifting towards a discount culture but perhaps there does need to be a shift towards encouraging loyalty without reducing the bottom lime. Students may be students today but they are an investment for tomorrow as the cities high earners. Grabbing them early like how banks do, could keep them for a whole lot longer which means a return on investment much quicker than expected.

Yes, smaller establishments may not have the firepower of a marketing spend like Pizza Express but they have something that big chains don't. A personality and that can be powerful in really nailing that customer experience and growing that personal edge which will grow a loyal consumer base.

Just my two cents .

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Pizza Express

Posted by Adrian Close,

What's with the 18 - 24 year olds, I love Pizza Express always have done.

A lovely 44 year old x

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