Ethical shopping guide to Restaurant Chains, from Ethical Consumer.

Ethical shopping guide to Restaurant Chains, from Ethical Consumer.

This is a product guide from Ethical Consumer, the UK's leading alternative consumer organisation. Since 1989 we've been researching and recording the social and environmental records of companies, and making the results available to you in a simple format.

This guide include:

  • ethical and environmental ratings for 42 restaurants
  • Best Buy recommendations
  • how restaurants compare on their use of sustainable ingredients
  • tips for finding an ethical restaurant
  • how the restaurants fare on tax avoidance and workers' rights


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Our ratings are live updated scores from our primary research database. They are based on primary and secondary research across 23 categories - 17 negative categories and 6 positive ones (Company Ethos and Product Sustainability). Find out more about our ethical ratings


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The Full Scorecard shows the 'black marks' for each product, by each of the 17 negative categories. The bigger the mark, the worse the score. So for example a big black circle under 'Worker Rights' shows that the company making this product has been severely criticised for worker abuses.

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Best Buys

as of May/June 2015

As our ratings are constantly updated, it is possible that company ratings on the scorecard may have changed since this report was written.

The best buy is to look for your local vegan or veggie restaurant.

For those who eat meat look for a local restaurant that offers a wide range of sustainable options. If they don’t, you could encourage them to do so.
Check the Sustainable Restaurant directory.

For the brands on the score table, it was hard to pick a clear Best Buy. Of the brands scoring 7 or more, Wetherspoons does well on the sustainable items on its menu but it admits to using zero-hours contracts.

Toby Carvery, a Mitchells & Butlers restaurant, perhaps surprisingly does well on vegan mains options which are clearly labelled.
M&B don’t use zero-hours contracts but did score middle for likely use of tax avoidance.



Where shall we go to eat?


Ruth Strange ranks 18 of the biggest restaurant chains, and presents a spread of positive initiatives and alternatives.

Image: restaurants in ethical shopping guide 

People in the UK spend about £45 billion a year on eating out, a whopping 28% of the total UK food spend. Of this total, £10 billion is spent in restaurants – half in independents, and half in large restaurant chains. The biggest ten restaurant chains have captured around 30% of the ‘casual dining’ market and have a combined turnover of roughly £2 billion.

Despite growth in the market overall, big brands are benefiting at the expense of independents. For example, chains such as Mitchells & Butlers and Greene King are expanding, with several pub-restaurant brands each.

The big chains seem to be passed around by investors on a regular basis and eight of the 18 chains we rate in this guide are owned by private equity firms. These firms are involved in many other business ventures which often affected their scores on our score table. We look into the special form of tax dodging used by private equity fund managers, and you can read more about the companies in our corporate profiles below.




The ratings


Most of the chains we rated are such large energy users that they are obliged by law to report on their carbon emissions, and have been working on energy efficiency measures. However, all except Whitbread’s restaurants and Giraffe (owned by Tesco), scored worst in our environmental reporting category as they had neither quantified targets nor independent verification. None showed a reasonable understanding of their environmental impact in terms of their use of agricultural produce. Almost all the companies were marked down for supply-chain policy, and all for factory farming.

Several chains were also marked down for paying their directors over £1 million, which we considered excessive, especially when the hospitality industry is one of the lowest paid. We look further at workers’ pay below.

Changes in scores since our last restaurant guide in 2008 are mainly due to changes in ownership and more use of tax havens. Six companies have changed ownership and seven more companies have picked up a worst mark for likely use of tax avoidance strategies.




Setting a good example


However there are also a whole range of positive influences in the restaurant industry, from individual chefs with a passion for local and seasonal food, to wider programmes of work such as the Soil Association’s Food For Life catering mark. Below we find out more about these initiatives, as well as the Sustainable Restaurant Association (now 5 years old) and work in Manchester to link restaurants with local growers. There are also a lot of good vegetarian and vegan options.

Find a veggie/vegan restaurant online

Veggie/vegan guidebooks




Does your bill support private equity tax avoidance?


Eight of the 18 biggest restaurant chains in this guide are on the portfolios of private equity (PE) firms. These firms raise money from a pool of investors, and then either provide investment for the start up or growth of companies, or acquire a substantial or controlling position in a company.

Brands owned by private equity:

Cafe Rouge - Apollo
Cote - CBPE Capital
Pizza Express - Hony Capital
Pizza Hut - Rutland Partners
Prezzo  - TPG Capital
Strada - Sun Capital Partners
Wagamama - Duke Street Capital
Zizzi - Bridgepoint Capital

Typically PE firms extract value from their portfolio companies through distributing profits to investors, and then by selling them on at an increased price, often after 3-5 years. The people running PE firms are also paid excessively. The average European PE firm’s managing directors will receive about £8 million, while even junior directors can expect over £1 million. Apparently, London has the highest paid PE executives in Europe.1

There have been accusations that most of the profit made comes from having piled debt onto the books of the companies they acquired, splitting the company and then selling the profitable part and winding up the debt-laden company.2 Increasing the debt structure of a company can also reduce its tax liabilities, leading to what some commentators have called ‘taxpayer financed capitalism’.3

The owners of Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia have a colourful debt structure, a legacy of its private equity ownership. During its ownership of the group, the previous owner, Blackstone, had taken advantage of a loophole that allows UK companies to pay interest to an overseas-domiciled lender without paying 20% tax to HMRC, by issuing ‘Eurobonds’ listed in the Cayman Islands.4 In 2014, Blackstone’s CEO received over $85 million, and two other executives received over $75 million and $25 million.5

PE funds have also been ‘strongly involved in buying-up privatised utilities and outsourced public services’ according to pressure group 38 Degrees. For example, 11 of the UK’s 21 water companies are owned by PE-backed investment consortia.6

In February this year, 38 Degrees circulated an online petition to ‘Close the Mayfair Tax Loophole’. They stated that ‘the government has rubber-stamped a legal loophole that allows millionaire finance bosses to pay a lower rate of tax than many nurses and teachers’.

They also released a report, crowdfunded by 38 Degrees members, exposing tax avoidance by these PE fund managers, which is thought to cost the UK from £280 to £700 million a year in tax revenues. PE fund managers typically get about 20% of their funds’ profits, known as ‘carry’, on top of their salaries and bonuses. According to the report, the British Venture Capital Association (BVCA), a PE industry body, struck a special deal with the HMRC without parliamentary approval. Under the special deal, the HMRC allows this income to be treated as Capital Gains and therefore taxed at 28%, instead of 45% which is the normal rate on income over £150,000. The fund managers also pay no National Insurance (NI) on this income.

Furthermore, the report exposed that sometimes the tax rate can be as low as 10%, as if fund managers have invested their own money. They get away with claiming ‘entrepreneurs relief’ which has an even lower tax rate, even if the profit runs into millions of pounds in a year. In this way, some millionaire finance managers can end up paying a lower tax rate on their ‘carry’ income than teachers or nurses, even when earning two to three hundred times as much.

The 2015 Finance Bill explicitly exempts the ‘Mayfair’ loophole from tax avoidance legislation. 38 Degrees have drafted a change which could be inserted into to the Bill, similar to measures taken in Netherlands and France. Their online petition was designed to send a message to the government before the Budget announcement in March 2015, but the PE industry has already made itself known, accounting for one sixth of top donors to the current government.

Since 2012 the BVCA has also been the second largest donor to Progress,7 which until 2014 described itself as ‘the New Labour pressure group’.8 All of the eight PE firms owning restaurants in this guide were featured on the front cover of the BVCA 2015 Events Brochure,9 except for Hony Capital and Sun Capital. The 38 Degrees report also states that “The PE industry lobby group the BVCA is itself is run by Tim Hames, former Special Adviser to Commons Speaker John Bercow.”

Who would have thought, when all you wanted was a meal out with friends or family, that it could be mixed up in all this?

Read the 38 Degrees report


Our tax avoidance ratings



  • Mitchells & Butlers / Harvester, Toby
  • TPG / Prezzo


  • CBPE Capital / Côte Restaurants
  • Landmark Group / Carluccio’s
  • Apollo Global Management / Café Rouge, Bella Italia
  • Yum! Brands / Pizza Hut
  • Bridgepoint / Zizzi
  • Tesco / Giraffe
  • L Perlman SECS / Nando’s


All the other companies scored a Best rating.







Allergens and animal products

New European legislation came into play in December 2014 for all catering outlets selling unpackaged food to have allergen information clearly listed, or easily to hand. It is no longer acceptable to use statements such as ‘all our food may contain allergens’. Instead they must be listed for each food item.

There are 14 major allergens, which include the well-known peanuts, and nuts in general, but also cereals containing gluten which many people want to reduce for digestive reasons even if they are not allergic.

The fact that milk products, egg, fish, crustaceans and molluscs now need to be clearly labelled too makes it much easier for vegans to identify ingredients they want to avoid. On packaged products, these ingredients are often now in bold type so a quick glance is all you or restaurant staff need, rather than a careful reading of long lists of ingredients and a knowledge of, for example, the many milk derivatives.



Palm oil

Under the same European legislation the specific vegetable oil used, such as palm oil, must be indicated on label. But this applies to packaged food not public menus, so you’ll need to ask the restaurant staff.



Genetically Modified Organisms

All GMOs have been required to be labelled on menus for customers (as well as packaging) since 1996 in the UK, but GM cooking oil used in restaurants and takeaways is one area where enforcement has been weak. Local campaigning groups approaching proprietors have found that awareness of GM or the labelling laws is low. GM oil is generally cheaper than the alternatives available from wholesalers, and is labelled as Vegetable Oil, only indicating in small print on the back that it is made from genetically modified soya.

Some consumers have been putting pressure on their local Trading Standards bodies to check outlets and remind them of the law. In response to discussions during the compiling of this guide, the campaign umbrella group GM Freeze has updated their web page with a selection of new resources you can use to take action in your area.



GM animal feed

Unfortunately, products from animals fed a GM diet are not required to be labelled. The government’s website states that the EU animal feed industry imported 70% of its maize, soya and rapeseed requirements; that “almost all” of the soya from the major producers Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and the USA was genetically modified and that “much of” the maize imported from the USA was genetically modified.

For this reason it is assumed that unless meat or milk is certified organic or from a known GM-free supplier, the animals were fed GMO’s, which is why all the brands in this report lost half a mark in the Genetic Engineering category.




Sustainable items on UK menus


  • 64% of restaurant chains don't offer any organic options

  • 77% of restaurant chains don't offer any Fairtrade options

  • 41% of restaurant chains don't offer any free-range options

  • 85% of restaurant chains don't offer any sustainably-sourced fish


Whilst nearly 60% of the restaurants now offer free-range eggs, none offer either free-range or organic meat or poultry.


 Sustainability on UK menus table


no = no mention/no evidence found.

GM: None of the restaurants said that their food was GM free. Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge and Strada said they didn’t use GM ingredients but did not mention the use of animal feed in their meat products.

Meat & poultry: no-one claimed to serve anything free range or organic.

Vegan: often not labelled on menus but listed in an allergy information download. Ask for veggie option minus dairy and egg.




The Sustainable Restaurant Association


The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) was started by industry professionals who wanted to create a ‘one-stop-shop’ to help restaurants perform better in terms of climate change, animal welfare and food waste. Ruth Strange interviewed Tom Tanner from the SRA just after their annual Awards ceremony in February 2015 to find out more.



The SRA has been going for over five years now – how has your strategy evolved?

When we launched in 2010, our stated goal was to: “make UK restaurants global leaders in sustainability”. As we’ve grown, we’ve expanded our horizons. Initially we were very much focused on ‘restaurants’ – all 35 of our initial Members fitted the traditional definition. Five years on and consumers can enjoy a meal at one of our more than 4,000 Member sites across the UK in a cafe, workplace canteen, football ground, theatre, university canteen, or on a train or plane. The SRA has broadened its horizons to meet demand from all of these different sectors.



Give us a figure that shows your success!

Consumer research we conducted in 2013 showed that food waste was the highest sustainability priority when dining out. We’ve helped independent London restaurants reduce their food waste by almost 300 tonnes over 18 months.



How does your Advisory Network help you?

For example, Thomasina Miers, co-founder of Wahaca, has taken a lead on the challenges facing operators when it comes to sourcing and serving higher-welfare chicken. She was one of the main participants in a roundtable debate we hosted on the subject, which also included representatives from the RSPCA and Soil Association. Subsequently, we have worked with Thomasina to encourage dialogue between restaurant groups, suppliers and the certification bodies.



How do you balance your attention between independents and chains?

Our mission is to have the maximum impact. That means helping as many places as possible that serve food to the public, do so as sustainably as they can, giving diners the widest possible range of places to choose from that match their values. By working with large groups we can have a significant impact on a large scale. Many people either prefer to eat at independents or are limited to doing so, so we need to ensure we maintain a balance. In terms of receptiveness, busy independent restaurants, committed to operating responsibly, often crave the support we provide to help them realise their dream. While chains are more likely to have the capacity to implement the changes they also appreciate the expert advice and support as well the third party accreditation of our rating.



What are your main avenues for outreach to diners other than the Awards?

2015 will see a major consumer push from the SRA. This will be evident in one or possibly two issue-based campaigns as well as a strong presence at food festivals. Our website will boast a new more consumer-friendly look and feel and we are reviewing our overall brand, ensuring we put our membership in front of diners.


The SRA ratings of companies in this guide

When restaurants join the SRA they undergo a Sustainability Assessment, and receive a rating of between one and three stars depending how they score against a range of criteria in 14 areas of sustainability - community engagement, treating people fairly, healthy eating, responsible marketing, water saving, workplace resources, supply chain, waste management, energy efficiency, environmentally positive farming, local & seasonal, sustainable fish, ethical meat & dairy, fair trade.

The SRA focuses on positive scoring for achievements and does not deduct points for negative behaviours, or take account of parent company activities.

Unfortunately, none of these SRA member restaurants score well on the other issues on our score table. We have not awarded positive marks in our table in relation to SRA ratings as their scoring system is not transparent enough for us to be able to access how the ranking is derived.

Of the brands we’ve covered in this guide:

  • Nando’s, Prezzo, Pizza Hut, Giraffe have become SRA members, but have not yet had a star rating.
  • * Pizza Express has one star (scored 50%)
  • *** Carluccio’s has three stars (scored 70%)


More information >




Sourcing ingredients



Manchester Veg People

Manchester Veg People (MVP) is a co-operative designed to increase understanding and fairness in the food supply chain. Chefs and buyers meet local organic growers to understand more about what’s involved in production and what will be seasonally available. They then collaborate to plan future supplies, giving stability to the growers as they know they’ll have a market.


Stewart Jones from Moss Brook Growers with Martin Smith, Manchester Uni’s executive chef.



Alan from Glebelands City Growers, who supply MVP, said:

 “Knowing that the food we produce is being eaten in local restaurants is a great thing for us. We are enthused by the amount of passion the chefs have for our food and that spurs us on to try growing more and different varieties of veg. It is a very dynamic relationship; we both adapt. They work with what we already grow and we grow new things for them to try.”

As the produce is picked to order, less is wasted and the slight increase in cost is balanced out. Buying local organic veg also helps promote a healthy local economy, increases people’s connection to their food and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Growing the supply at the same time as growing the demand is one of the biggest challenges. In just over three years, MVP has gone from two buyers to over 40. Their sister project, The Kindling Trust’s FarmStart, is providing starter plots and currently training 15 people, to increase the number of local growers.


Zoran of Pokusevski’s Delicatessen & Cafe says:

“The quality and freshness of the vegetables is incredible. The concept that MVP follows is not followed by any other supplier. Vegetables are picked the afternoon before the delivery keeping the freshness and flavour at a maximum. All this is delivered with a clear conscience and ethical fair trade principles.”

More info >



The Chef Alliance

The Chef Alliance is an initiative of the Slow Food Movement, which started in Italy in the 1980s. Their work is based on recognising ‘the strong connections between plate, planet, people, politics and culture’.
The Chef Alliance “engages British-based chefs in actively championing small-scale producers, and promoting good quality local and sustainably produced food.” From one member in 2011, they reached 125 in 2014. Their main project is the Ark of Taste, which encourages chefs to use forgotten seasonal foods and strengthens relationships between chefs and producers.

More info >



Food for Life catering mark

The organic certifying body, the Soil Association runs Food for Life, which focuses on improving meals in educational, health and workplace settings, as well as restaurants. Their website states “The Food for Life Catering Mark provides an independent guarantee for your customers that what’s on your menu is freshly prepared, seasonal and better for animal welfare, and contains no GM ingredients or undesirable additives.”

More info >



Shark Special?

You don’t often see shark on the menu, but campaign group The Fin Fighters say it is consumed in the UK on a huge scale, sold in markets, chip shops and restaurants. Shark meat is often mislabelled as Hake, Dogfish, Huss, or even Swordfish, but most commonly Rock Salmon.

The favoured species used in chip shops is Spiny Dogfish (or Spurdog Shark), which can live 100 years and was once one of the most abundant species of shark in the world. However, intensive fishing in the UK and worldwide has brought global populations to the brink of catastrophe, and they are now listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ in UK waters.

For more information on the sustainability of fish choices see: and




Workers’ rights on the menu


It’s great to see increasing attention on the conditions of staff in the restaurant industry as well as the ethics of ingredients. Amid widespread acknowledgement of low pay in the sector, and a growing discontent with zero-hours contracts, a new model for hospitality workers is stirring.

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union has been growing over the last ten years and many of their members work in the hospitality industry. The Sheffield branch have been developing a model for a Bar and Restaurant Union they intend to roll out at the IWW summit in July.

Perhaps their actions have been inspired by work in the US. There, the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) has mounted a nationwide ‘One Fair Wage’ bill aimed at states that pay a sub-minimum wage to tipped workers, and saw some success in February with New York bringing tipped workers’ wages up to $7.50/hour. Many states have higher standards of their own, and restaurant owners are meant to top-up wages if tips don’t bring them to the standard minimum, but in many cases they don’t.

The ROC says that tipped restaurant workers are twice as likely to use food stamps as the rest of the US workforce. They also found in a recent study that cases of sexual harassment go down when minimum wages are raised, as those who no longer depend on tips for their basic wage are less vulnerable.

In March the IWW Sheffield branch screened the ‘The Hand That Feeds’, a documentary charting the struggle of a group of immigrant workers in a New York deli. Initially workers here presented some basic demands, for a minimum wage, overtime and holiday pay, safety at work, and to be treated with respect. When the restaurant owners said they were not obliged to give benefits unless dealing with a union, the workers decided to form one.

Local IWW members said that although the story didn’t fully reflect their own strategies, it did capture very well the stages a workplace goes through as they start to organise themselves. One member suggested that larger unions don’t organise in the hospitality sector as they think it ‘unorganisable’, being largely made up of students or other transient workers. However, according to an organiser for ‘The Pizza Hut Workers’ Union’ (part of IWW), there are many people in his branch who’ve been there ten years.



Living wages

The first ever poll of minimum-wage workers, conducted for Unite the Union in July 2014, found that just one in four believes their boss can’t afford to pay them more. Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner commented “Big business in Britain should hang its head in shame. Our major retailers, restaurant chains and hotels could well afford to raise wages, and with it the living standards of the communities they depend on for their profits.”[14]

The Living Wage Foundation also stated in a 2015 report, “sectors such as retail, hospitality and social care arguably have a higher proportion of employees subject to in-work poverty”.[15] The Pizza Hut Workers Union says that since 2006, directors of Pizza Hut have seen their pay and benefits quadruple, while essential workers are still on minimum wage or barely above.[16]


Image: Pizza hut image

The London IWW join a national day of action and picket Pizza Hut on the Strand.


Despite this focus on low pay, companies are still being criticised in the news for using service charges paid by customers’ credit cards to top up low wages,17 although it is illegal since 2009 to use cash tips in this way. Of the chains in our table who mentioned their tipping policy on their websites, only Beefeater, Frankie & Benny’s and Pizza Hut were clear that they do not make any deductions from card tips beyond the tax and NI required by law.


Zero-hours contracts?

Some chains were also criticised in our workers’ rights category for using zero-hours contracts. Described as “exploitative” by unions and campaigners, ‘zero-hours’ contracts are not defined in legislation and so remain unregulated outside the normal work time directives. They are a type of employment contract between an employer and a worker, in which the employer is not obliged to provide the worker with any minimum working hours. Some zero-hours contracts oblige workers to take the shifts they are offered meaning they are unable to take on other jobs, while sick pay is often not included. More than 700,000 people in the UK are currently on them.

In 2013 JD Wetherspoon and the Spirit Group (Chef & Brewer, etc.) admitted that most of their staff were on zero-hours, and an open letter in January 2015 criticising Wetherspoons became an instant hit with 13,000 shares on Facebook.18 Pizza Hut have also been named as employing people on zero-hours,19 while Mitchells & Butlers (Harvester, etc.) and Whitbread (Beefeater, etc.) said they had no such contracts.20

In a 2014 survey by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, the top priority diners wanted restaurants to focus on was ‘Treating Employees Fairly’.21



Alternative Restaurants



People's Kitchens


A People’s Kitchen (PK) is very different to a conventional restaurant in a number of ways. They are run by volunteers, usually to raise money for other small-scale progressive projects, and often on a ‘pay-as-you-feel’ or ‘suggested donation’ basis. They are also usually vegan, and often make use of food that would otherwise have gone to waste, making for some interesting and unique dishes.

We spoke to Miles who helps run both Derby and Wirksworth people’s kitchens, who said that people at both events “typically give an average of £3.75 a head”, for a three course meal. He has resisted calls for fixed-fee meals, saying “I like it that even if someone has no money they can still come to eat. We also get a fair few activists and others doing lots of voluntary stuff, and I like it that these people can pay what they can afford”.

Derby and Wirksworth both usually have 30-40 people turn up, and run a monthly event but being fairly close, some people go to both which makes it a fortnightly option. Other PK’s such as the one at the Passing Clouds venue in Dalston, and Brixton PK, happen every other week. The PK in Hulme, Manchester, started out as a weekly event in a local pub in 1999 with up to 80 people attending, and now runs monthly, whereas Nottingham’s is every Saturday.

Most of the UK’s People’s Kitchens were inspired by experience of a similar project in another country, a ‘Comida Popular’ in Barcelona, a ‘Volxkuche’ in Berlin and Leipzig, or the ‘Food not Bombs’ model in the US.

In many European cities there is a more visible and established social centre movement than in the UK, with empty buildings being occupied as living space and also hosting a range of activities including these cheap communal meals. Food Not Bombs give food away free, but emphasise that it is a ‘meal with a message’, to get people thinking about solutions to ‘the political, economic and environmental crises threatening our future’.

When asked what he thinks is most important about the PK, Miles said,
“I like it that there’s a fairly diverse group of strangers who get together to eat, and stop being strangers.
I like it that money is denied some meaning; there are so few places you can go where having money is irrelevant: being human is enough...
I like it that there are no roles or structure or hierarchy... things just get done, like ants building a hill.
I like it best when there have been loads of different people involved, some chop veg for a bit, someone wanders in and washes pots after the first course, someone different washes up for the next... not because they were asked, or obliged, but because they just felt like joining in.
I love hearing the clamour of voices from a room full of people having a good time. Maybe that’s the most important thing.
Good times, new friends, making ideals into reality, creating a community of sorts, supporting good causes and good people... and a hundred other things... what’s not to love!?”

Is there a PK near you? Why not visit one and be inspired to start your own! See Ronny’s guide from Glossop PK.



Other inspiring restaurant models


  • The Real Junk Food Project – A network of venues serving surplus food on a Pay-as-you-Feel basis since 2013.
  • Foodcycle – Hubs around the UK serving surplus food to alleviate food poverty and social isolation since 2009.
  • Supper Clubs – Also sometimes known as “pop-up” restaurants or “underground dining”, supper clubs are essentially part-time restaurants. They can be held in people’s homes or other temporary venues.
  • Bonnington Cafe – A vegetarian and vegan restaurant in Vauxhall, started as a squat cafe in the 80s and is now maintained by an active collective of member cooks from all over the world.
  • Whitmuir the Organic Place – An all-organic restaurant growing much of its own ingredients, with the farmer also being director of Nourish, to improve the food system in Scotland.



Company profiles

Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia are owned by Apollo Global Management. This company has a large portfolio of investments and loses marks for financial relationships with companies involved in fossil fuels extraction, and supplying to the military.

Carluccio’s is the group that the Sustainable Restaurant Association say has engaged most with its ethos of continual improvement. The SRA reports that in 2013, Carluccio’s switched to free-range eggs and environmentally friendly cleaning products, and has started sending its food waste for anaerobic digestion.

The other big pub-restaurant chains covered in this guide are Mitchells & Butlers (Harvester, etc.) and Whitbread (Beefeater, etc.), who also own Premier Inn and Costa Coffee. For more information about Whitbread see the Coffee Shop guide company profiles.

Hungry Horse was named and shamed in March 2015 by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) for having a high salt content in children’s meals. They are owned by Greene King, who is due to takeover the Spirit Pub Company (Chef & Brewer, etc.) in summer 2015.2 This combination will create the UK’s biggest managed pubs group, but it remains to be seen how they will be affected by the recent end to the historic ‘beer-tie’ arrangement, under which tenanted pubs bought beer from a tied brewery in exchange for investment and support. Government research has suggested that this change could lead to the closure of hundreds of tenanted pubs.

Nando’s stated in response to our survey that their milk is organic, their tea, coffee and hot chocolate are fair trade and that they are a member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association. However the company scores our worst ranking for its environmental reporting and supply-chain policy, and has had serious criticism for using ‘a battery of offshore techniques’ to reduce its UK tax bill by up to a third.11

Prezzo is owned by the TPG Capital, another of the world’s largest private equity firms, with $65 billion in assets. TPG received a worst mark in the Genetic Engineering category for its investment in biotechnology company Amyris Technologies. TPG also scored a worst mark for Political Activity due to spending $350,000 on lobbying in 2014, and for Climate Change due to its investment in coal mining in Indonesia (on top of the fact that Prezzo had no palm oil policy).

Pizza Express lost a full mark for animal testing as its parent company Hony Capital also owns the Simcere Pharmaceutical Group, who commend the relatively low cost of animal testing for increasing the progress of their projects.12

Pizza Hut is owned by YUM! Brands, one of the biggest restaurant groups in the world, with over 40,000 outlets in over 125 countries. We marked it down for spending over $850,000 on lobbying in 2014 and donating over $200,000 to political parties in the US in the same year.13 See also KFC in the Fast Food guide.

Revolution was owned by UK private equity firm Alchemy for ten years but refloated on the UK stock market in March 2015.1

Strada is owned by UK private equity firm Sun Capital Partners Ltd, who have only one other investment listed, concerned with housing and regeneration. We also found no evidence of likely tax avoidance strategies, which is why they score relatively well on our table.




1 Heidrick & Struggles, 2014 Private Equity EMEA Compensation Survey 
5 viewed March 2015 viewed 16/3/15  

7 viewed 17/3/15 
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9 viewed 17/3/15
10 Getting serious: how the UK government helps private equity executives to pay lower tax rates than nurses and teachers, and what could be done about it - 38 Degrees, 2014

12 viewed March 2015
13 viewed February 2015
14 viewed 17/3/15
­15 page 10, Living Wages Employers: evidence of UK Business Cases. 
17 viewed 17/3/15 
20 viewed 17/3/15 






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Detailed ethical ratings for over 40,000 companies, brands and products, plus Ethical Consumer magazine.

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