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Which dining brands are Brits loving right now?

Which dining brands are Brits loving right now?

Written by

Abbie Dawson


September 23, 2022


Latest research

Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut - We dig through the latest YouGov data to find which dining brands are most popular in the UK and how generations differ in their food-out favourites.

Autumn is on the doorstep. And hospitality is coming off the back of a summer boost. The Cateter claims hospitality benefitted from warm weather and summer holidays which saw Brits pop to the pub and stick to their own shores, enjoying staycations around the country. 

Data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation's credit and debit card transactions, saw spending on restaurants and bars, pubs and clubs rise 6.6% and 8.4% respectively; whilst summer staycations boosted the domestic travel sector and hotels, resorts and accommodation rose by 4.1% month-on-month.

It’s not all positive news though, as Barclaycard data also showed looming cost-of-living concerns. 28% of respondents felt their personal finances weren’t enough to cover energy costs, and when factoring in the upcoming energy price rise next month this rose to 39%.

Makala Green, financial expert and author, said: "The current cost-of-living crisis is arguably the biggest squeeze on living standards in decades. While it's encouraging that many Brits have enjoyed the last of summer by going on staycations and supporting pubs and restaurants, the winter months ahead will place new pressures on personal finances and budgeting”.

There’s not only concern from consumers, soaring energy bills are making it impossible for some pubs and restaurants to remain open. One expert suggested the price of a pint would need to soar to £15-£20 to keep pubs afloat during the cost of living crisis. Drowning your sorrows could soon take on a whole new meaning. 

There’s hope that new PM Liz Truss’s energy price freeze and business aid package could soften the blow. In fact, in anticipation of this, pub groups and food retailers – including Mitchells & Butlers, Marks & Spencer, Greggs and Domino’s Pizza – pushed the more UK-focused FTSE 250 higher, implying confidence that things will be alright is rising. 

More positive news comes as Itsu shares plans to increase staff pay by 13% to help with cost of living worries. Their entry level pay will increase to a minimum of £11.50 an hour, versus the industry standard £9.80. A move we think will prove popular with consumers, as well as their staff. Happy staff = happy customers, right?

The question of popularity got me thinking. How popular is Itsu? And how popular are other dining brands? Luckily, YouGov has popularity ratings for all the main UK food and drink outlets. Based on millions of responses, and growing daily, YouGov Ratings provides a way to determine the nationally representative popularity score for thousands of things, from brands and products to companies and people.

The top 10 most popular dining brands

Brand Popularity
1 Greggs
2 Subway
3 Costa Coffee
4 PizzaExpress
5 Domino's Pizza
7 Pizza Hut
8 Burger King
9 J D Wetherspoon
10 Nando's

Interestingly, Itsu comes in at number 66 in the current league table amongst all adults. Rising slightly higher to 60 when you only take into account Millennials. Topping the table for all adults is Greggs with a massive 73% popularity. There’s a fairly big jump to number 2, Subway, which has a popularity score of 59%. Then you have Costa Coffee (57%), Pizza Express (56%) and Domino’s Pizza (56%). 

For Baby Boomers, JD Wetherspoon (64%) proves most popular, followed by Greggs (58%), Harry Ramsden’s (52%), Brewers Fayre (50%) and Pizza Express (49%). A result that caught my eye for Baby Boomers was McDonald’s not making the top 20, yet Wimpy came in at 15! 

Wagamama is most popular amongst Generation X (58%) and Nando’s hits the spot for Millenials (65%). Costa Coffee is the second most popular dining brand for Women, yet doesn’t break the top 10 for Men, opting for Subway (61%) and Burger King (57%) at spots 2 and 3.

Music to make them eat slow, eat fast, eat dessert, eat to the beat, eat sleep rave repeat.

It’s interesting to see which brands different generations prefer. Dig into the popularity table yourself and see. What role does customer experience play in popularity? Yes, music is important, but it takes more than just music. We call it Music+.

Something customers tell friends about. Like being on a first date and discovering you both have the same taste in music via the perfect playlist. It elevates a brand to distinction, with the atmosphere of all sites harmonising in unison. Ultimately it improves your bottom line.

Tell me more, tell me more - What does a great dining experience look like?

Taking something that can be seen as a commodity and turning it into a major driving factor to your restaurant brand’s bottomline. It’s getting music and atmosphere on your team and in all your restaurants.

Imagine a busy restaurant where the atmosphere is monitored automatically, measuring noise levels and magically adjusting music, displays and lighting responsively, whilst the staff keep doing what they do best. Plate up and pump up the volume.

Walk this way, talk this way…

You have to walk the walk if you talk the talk, so here’s Thom Elliiot of Pizza Pilgrims on how we helped transform their brand’s customer experience:

“Startle has proved to be the perfect partner for Pizza Pilgrims, embracing all of our ideas for using music and technology to enhance our pizzerias. Our playlist management has improved massively, but the custom integrations we've been able to build in are the most exciting part. On top of this, the support we receive is super responsive and I know we can rely on the Startle team for quick, 1-to-1 help whenever we need it.”

Why not download for free (and with very little effort) our hospitality brochure? There is one for restaurants, pubs and bars, as well as hotels and cafes.

And if you think we can help, we’d love to hear from you. Call us on +44 (0)203 397 7676 or drop us an email at

Which dining brands are Brits loving right now?

Abbie Dawson

Marketing Manager at Startle. I'm in charge of our marketing activity, making sure to spread the word of Startle to as many brands as possible. When I'm not working, you'll find me vinyl shopping to add to my collection or working out at the gym (usually making enemies with a punching bag).

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Hey, we've just met you and this is crazy. But here's our number +44 (0)203 397 7676. So, call us maybe?

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