From Nando’s to Greggs, McDonald’s KFC and Wagamama, Nadia Vidinova takes a look at the chains beginning to open their doors as lockdown restrictions ease.
After more than two months of staying at home, it can often feel like we’ve forgotten what it’s like to eat a meal that we haven’t cooked or reheated ourselves.
While home-made food is tasty and good for us, sometimes it’s nice to grab a quick bite to eat without having to wash and peel ingredients, stand over a hot cooker and do the washing up.
But most restaurants and fast-food chains closed their doors to the public at the end of March, leaving us with few options to satisfy our taste-buds.
Social media was almost instantly inundated with both professional and amateur chefs sharing their famous recipe replicas, followed by big name fast food restaurants sharing their top-secret recipes via their social media channels.
It’s clear that the UK public has been having some major cravings – now kitchen company Magnet has released the top five restaurants we’ve missed the most, after analysing social media trends. According to the company’s research, our most-missed brands are Nando’s, Greggs, Wagamama and McDonald’s, in that order.
And with talk of lockdown being gradually eased, we’ve rounded up which of these venues are starting to re-open in Scotland, whether it’s for drive through, collection or delivery.
A Magnet spokesman said: “As the UK moved into lockdown, some of our most popular restaurants responded by posting their recipes online so that customers could make them at home. We wanted to understand which were the most popular, and took to social media to find out.
“We measured two types of ‘social buzz’ to understand which recipes were getting Brits back in the kitchen. Firstly, we analysed the Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter profiles of a range of brands to see how many times they had posted a recipe, and how well engaged each post was – this includes how many users liked, shared or commented on a post, or how many people watched a recipe video.
“Next, we looked at the volume and tone of social conversation around each brand during the lockdown period. Analysing tweets since March 2020, we collated the number of posts around each of the brands in the study that specifically referenced the name or Twitter handle of a brand or a brand hashtag. Using a social listening tool, we were also able to work out how many tweets were positive and negative in sentiment.”
As well as the restaurants mentioned above, in Tayside and KFC and Burger King have also re-opened on a drive-through basis.
Brian Stormont, food writer at The Courier and Press and Journal, visited the KFC at Claypotts in Dundee this week with his daughter Cari.
“Cari just loves KFC and as she hadn’t had any kind of fast food for about nine weeks, I though she deserved a treat,” he said.
“The system KFC had in place was great. They were operating with a reduced menu so had a steward waiting on you as you approached the drive-through.
“They checked that what you wanted – in our case a Boneless Banquet – was available which it was.
“The process after that was swift and easy – and you could pay by cash or card.”
Cari, 14, added: “I probably enjoyed it more because I had missed it, but it was lovely. I had missed that gravy!”
Read on to find out when and where you can expect to order your favourite fast foods in Scotland….
If you’ve been missing your PERi-PERi, you’ll be pleased to know that a select number of restaurants in Scotland have now opened their doors again for delivery or collection.
The menu on offer is slightly reduced in order to help staff maintain social distancing in the kitchen and food preparation areas. But Nando’s favourites including PERi-PERi chicken wings, butterfly chicken, halloumi sticks and PERi chips are among the selection available.
Designated waiting areas have also been set up for drivers and collect customers, and order volumes will be monitored to avoid queues building up. There is no dine-in service at this time and all click and collect orders must be placed online via Nandos.co.uk
The following branches are open for delivery: Edinburgh – Fountain Park; Glasgow – Springfield Quay. For click and collect, it’s Aberdeen – Belmont Street; Edinburgh – Fountain Park and Glasgow – Springfield Quay.
The popular bakery chain hopes to re-open around 800 of its stores in mid June.
Greggs runs approximately 2,050 outlets across the UK and has been running trials with just over a dozen stores in the North East of England, its home region, for around a month now.
The company is aiming to ramp up trials after previously delaying its initial plans to re-open 20 stores due to fears of overcrowding. For now, Scottish fans of the steak bake and other Greggs favourites will have to wait until they can get their hands on those delicious flaky pastries.
New social distancing measures have now been put into place as the Japan-inspired restaurant chain re-opened 24 branches in England. Unfortunately, Scottish branches are yet to re-open.
By the end of June, it is expected that 67 Wagamama venues across the UK will be open for delivery. The chain has restaurants in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, in Glasgow and Livingston, with customers encouraged to check the website regularly for re-opening announcements.
Scottish fans of the fast food chain were initially disappointed when it only opened chains in England as part of their phased comeback plan amid the pandemic.
But from early June, Scots will be able to get their fix too, as stores here will begin to re-open for drive-through. There will be a limited menu, but favourites such as a Big Mac, chicken nuggets and a McChicken sandwich are expected to be available with a £25 cap on orders.