A petition to introduce the duty nationwide – launched by Oliver and Sustain - has now passed the 100,000 signatures required for the issue to be debated in Parliament.
It is estimated that an additional £1bn a year could be raised from the levy, which the chef is calling to be used to fund children’s health programmes.
Malcom Clark, of Sustain, told BigHospitality that the ‘awesome’ response showed that there was widespread public support for the move.
“This is the first time that we’ve had the evidence that despite what politicians say and fear the sugary drinks duty is something that is popular with the public,” he said.
Clark added that while it was ‘too early to say’ if more restaurant groups would come on board, Sustain is hoping that Oliver's trial of the scheme will encourage others to follow suit.
“I don’t see any reason why other restaurants shouldn’t follow in Jamie and co’s steps and do it, particularly as the background logistics and paperwork is already being done by those three – so the framework for a restaurant to sign on now is fairly straightforward,” he said.
“I’d certainly issue the challenge to other restaurant chains to call up [Sustain's] office and speak to my colleagues, find out what’s involved and then make a decision – don’t dismiss it out of hand.”
While the Government has offered no indication of its response to the proposals, Sustain is hoping public backing will encourage MPs to take action.
“Parliament comes back this week and politicians are back in Westminster. They have been remarkably silent these last few days – which I’m not sure is a good sign or a bad sign," he said.
“Two years ago this idea of a sugary drinks levy was far outside the mainstream, so we’ve come a long way.
“The fact that the Government until now has squashed any of their MPs who have said anything mildly positive about a sugary drinks tax suggests that there is still a way to go but I’m hoping this petition will encourage MPs of all parties to rethink their instinctive opposition."
To view Jamie Oliver and Sustain’s petition see here.
For information on introducing the sugary drinks tax in restaurants, visit childrenshealthfund.org.uk.