Canadian Pizza Magazine

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Canadians’ favourite restaurant and new menu items include Pizza-dilla


February 23, 2016
By Canadian Pizza

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Toronto – Where do Canadians like to eat and how are their dining habits shaping the country? Marketing research firm BrandSpark International conducted a national survey of more than 8,500 Canadians about which quick-service restaurants they frequent and how their dining habits are shaping the country and restaurant menus.


The results were announced in the second annual BrandSpark Best Restaurant Awards that identify Canadians’ favourite QSRs. Highlights include: The changing face of McDonald’s (with more people recognizing them for best tasting coffee than burgers); the continued battle for coffee and specialty coffee supremacy; and Subway taking the lead on healthy menu items overall.

In addition to the Best Restaurant Awards, the company also announced the winners of the companion Best New Menu Items Awards.

McDonald’s either won or tied in 14 of the 28 categories in the 2015 Best Restaurant Awards, including winning best QSR for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drive-thru in 2015 and in 2014. “On the surface this appears to be quite promising for McDonald’s,” said Robert Levy, president of BrandSpark International, in a news release. “The company clearly benefits from their strong top of mind awareness tied to their long history and heavy advertising. They are the dominate restaurant for both kids’ occasions and for best tasting fries. However, when we delve deeper into the research we see that from the sheer number of ties – a three way tie for best lunch and a four-way tie for best dinner being the most obvious – the competition is intense and gaining ground. It is interesting to note that what people know McDonald’s best for is changing – with far more people citing them for ‘best tasting coffee’ than ‘best tasting burger.’ ”

The “best tasting burger” category was won by A&W for the second year in a row, with their ongoing quality focused campaign and ingredients guarantee clearly having an enduring impact. “In fact, A&W has been leveraging their Best Restaurant Award win by highlighting it prominently in their first external newsletter to customers,”  Levy said.

Also for the second year in a row, Tim Horton’s won for best tasting coffee by a margin of 20 per cent over second place McDonald’s. The honour of best tasting specialty coffee went to Starbucks in 2015 as it did in 2014.
In the Best Restaurant Awards, after tying with Wendy’s last year, Subway won best tasting healthy menu items in 2015. Wendy’s continues to win for best tasting salad by a 22 per cent margin. Wendy’s also won for best new salad in the Best New Menu Item Awards for their Asian Cashew Chicken Salad.

Pizza Pizza’s Pizza-dilla won for Best Wrap/Burrito.

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“The fact that Wendy’s won for best salads is impressive and combined with their leadership on hot and spicy menu items gives them some important differentiation in the marketplace. However, Subway winning in the healthy menu items overall informs us that offering great salads or healthy ‘sides’ isn’t enough for Canadians to consider a QSR offering healthier options. With Subway coming in as sole winner this year it is clear that for overall healthy menu items, consumer choice is driven by the ‘main’ course offerings – which for many salads are not,” Levy said.

BrandSpark International has been conducting consumer research in the restaurant arena for more than 15 years. Read more about top restaurants and new menu items.