· Starbucks at the head of the table with 27% increase in brand value to $32.4 billion
· Healthy brands lag as big restaurant chains broaden menus
· Wendy’s brand value jumps 61% on ambitious expansion plan
Starbucks remains the world’s most valuable restaurant brand following 27% growth to US$32.4 billion, while big restaurant chains boomed in value globally, according to a new report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy.
Starbucks’ strong brand value results come on the back of strong annual revenues and solid forecasts, despite the brand facing global challenges as it seeks to expand into Asia, especially China. Starbucks’ Brand Strength Index score increased 3% to 89.2 and retained a brand strength rating of AAA.
The remainder of the world’s top six most valuable restaurants are ranked in the same order as last year, with McDonald's (up 23% to US$24.9 billion), KFC (up 31% to US$8.0 billion), Tim Hortons (up 23% to US$5.0 billion), and Domino's Pizza (up 22% to US$4.8 billion) all recording strong growth in brand value as they recalibrated their offerings to suit changing customer demands.
On the other hand, Subway (down 4% to US$8.1 billion), Pizza Hut (down 6% to US$3.1 billion), and Chipotle (down 13% to US$2.5 billion) each struggled with different challenges. Subway brand suffered from reduced revenue forecasts as a consequence of closing more stores than it opened. Pizza Hut need to turn around fortunes in the USA to regain brand momentum, while Chipotle is still recovering from the food poisoning scares of 2015 and continues to search for new leadership.
Bryn Anderson, Director at Brand Finance, commented:
“The results of the big restaurant brands are a reminder of the old adage that every happy family is alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. The brands that have grown in value are those that are successfully responding to, and leading, customer demands. On the other hand, each of the big brands that suffered have unique causes.”
Healthy brands lag as big restaurant chains broaden menus
The shift towards healthier choices may be regarded as one of the biggest trends in the restaurant sector, but it is not evident in the 2018 brand rankings, though all the largest restaurants have improved their product offerings in this segment in a bid to retain customers. 13th-ranked Panera Bread, which has crafted a reputation for the healthiest fast-food offering and has expanded rapidly in recent years, saw a brand value rise of a steady 7% to US$2.2 billion, though it was below the sector growth average.
The domination of US groups in the restaurant sector continues, with US operators accounting for US$104.5 billion of the aggregate US$113.4 billion of brand value and the US being home to 22 of the top 25 restaurant brands. Franchising has proved an effective way for groups to expand quickly at lower cost and the most successful groups have processes that reduce the risks associated with loss of control. Brands with 25% or more of revenues from franchisees increased brand value by an average 17% this year, compared to 6% where franchise revenues are less than 25% of the total. McDonalds, for example, plans to open 1,000 new restaurants in 2018, 75% of which will be through licensees and affiliates, leaving US$2.4 billion to invest in upgrading existing restaurants.
Wendy’s tops growth table with ambitious expansion plan
The fastest-growing brand in the sector was 12th-ranked Wendy's (up 61% to US$2.3 billion) which has embarked on a global expansion and opened more than 100 sites in the first three quarters of 2017. Wendy’s has increased same-restaurant sales for 19 consecutive quarters, reflecting the strength and popularity of the brand.
Note to Editors
Every year, leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values the world’s biggest brands. The 25 most valuable restaurant brands are included in the Brand Finance Restaurants 25 league table.
Brand value is equal to a net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand strength is used to determine what proportion of a business’s revenue is contributed by the brand.
More information about the methodology as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Restaurants 25 report.