U.K. Restaurant Brands Roll Out New Concepts

U.K. restaurant operators are looking to expand their reach and serve new audiences by debuting concepts a step above or a step below their original brands’ service style. PAUL, which came in at No. 75 on Technomic’s 2014 list of the Top 100 U.K. Chain Restaurants (based on 2013 U.K. systemwide sales), is among this […]

Investors Hungry for U.K. Chain Restaurants

The recent sale of PizzaExpress to Chinese firm Hony Capital is just one of several recent deals illustrating investors’ appetite for growing U.K. restaurant and pub brands. Private-equity firm Hony’s £900 million acquisition of PizzaExpress from Cinven, owner of the group that operates Zizzi Italian restaurants, was announced earlier this month. The deal, which the […]

Making the Most of Dessert Menu Space

Technomic’s MenuMonitor online resource reveals that dessert menus are contracting in the U.K., as many restaurant operators are deciding it’s not worthwhile from either a cost or an operations perspective to maintain lengthy lists of post-meal treats. Interestingly, that contraction is even more pronounced in the full-service restaurant sector, where the number of desserts on offer […]

Bar & Grill Chains Sizzle in the U.K.

Bar & grill chains within the Top 100 U.K. Chain Restaurant Report registered an impressive 8.4% sales increase and a 5.7% unit increase in 2013. The segments’ sales and unit performance exceeded the total Top 100 chains’ growth rates by 2% and 1.6%, respectively. Segment leaders Harvester Salad & Grill and Frankie & Benny’s both […]

Savoury New Barbecue Dishes Star on U.K. Menus

As we discussed last month at the U.K. Restaurants Trends & Directions Conference, barbecue remains a top U.K. menu trend midway through 2014. There are plenty of American-style pulled-pork sandwiches on hamburger buns tempting diners at restaurants across menu categories, and slow-smoked meats of all sorts are the calling card for the rising number of […]

Honing Their Craft: U.K. Restaurants Build from Beer

Do foods drive beverage trends, or vice versa? Donna Hood Crecca, senior director of Technomic’s Adult Beverage Resource Group, posed that question last week at Technomic’s U.S. Restaurant Trends & Directions Conference in suburban Chicago. The answer has shifted in the past several years, Crecca and co-panelist Nancy Kruse, restaurant trends expert and president of […]

Full Speed Ahead for U.K. Full-Service Restaurants

Earlier this month, we looked at some of the U.K.’s fastest-growing limited-service restaurant segments, based on data from Technomic’s new Top 100 U.K. Chain Restaurant Report. Now, we turn our attention to those full-service chains that recorded the strongest sales growth in 2013. In contrast to the tepid 2.4% sales growth seen among leading U.S. […]

Conveying Quality at Breakfast

Breakfast is a prime area of sales-building opportunity for U.K. restaurant operators as consumers seek convenient morning meal solutions. But when most a.m. menus are built on a similar lineup of offerings, how can concepts convey that they have the kind of differentiated, high-quality fare that today’s foodservice customer seeks? Understanding which breakfast items consumers are most […]

A Look at the U.K.’s Fastest-Growing Limited-Service Segments

For the U.K.’s top chain restaurants, 2013 was a year of healthy growth, even if trade gains weren’t quite as robust as in 2012. The concepts that made Technomic’s 2014 list of the 100 largest U.K. chain restaurants (by U.K. systemwide sales) as a group saw sales rise 6.4% last year, compared with a gain […]

To the Point: Skewers Score on U.K. Menus

There’s a primal, uncomplicated appeal to food served on a stick. Whether it’s a hearty kebab of steak and peppers or a lighter satay of grilled chicken, skewered food boasts easy familiarity (the format is recognisable even if the flavours are a bit exotic) and a welcome lack of fussiness. In the U.K., restaurant operators […]