Yelp Names Wawa as One of the ‘Fastest Growing Brands’

Customers gravitated towards the c-store’s grab-and-go food offerings.

April 16, 2024

For the first time, Yelp released a list that showcases the 50 fastest-growing brands “to recognize the companies that have successfully executed growth strategies over the last year.” Wawa was recognized as fifth overall on the list.

According to Yelp, Wawa saw its grab-and-go food offerings resonate, with consumer interest nationally up 88%. Yelp data also showed the retailer saw its fastest growth in Virginia, Florida, and New Jersey, where consumer interest surged 137%.

The list was based off of data such as net new location openings, consumer interest, and searches.

Overall, Yelp noted that challenger brands—defined as businesses that are not market leaders but aim to compete by disrupting their industry—make up over 70% of the brands on the list.

The number one fastest-growing brand, according to Yelp, is fast casual Mediterranean restaurant Cava. Yelp stated that Cava’s “vision of introducing a new, healthier dining option to a wider audience has enabled it to become one of the fastest growing businesses,” as it opened 72 new locations across the United States in 2023 alone.

Yelp noted that while Cava is known for its Mediterranean bowls, the drinks the company offers have caught the attention of Yelp users. Review insights showed that the beverages are what keep customers coming back, with Yelp reviewers praising the drinks “for their taste, quality, and customization options.”

Beverages were popular overall on the list. “Coffee house challengers like Scooter’s Coffee and Dutch Bros are redefining the category, with a focus on creating a great customer experience both through convenient drive-thrus and upbeat and friendly employee interactions with customers,” said Kadecia Bar, Yelp’s advertising trends expert and director of enterprise solutions. “Serving innovative and in-demand menu options like protein coffee, or ‘proffee’ as regulars sometimes call it, helps them acquire a new cohort of loyal customers.”

Yelp’s top ten fastest-growing brands are:

  1. Cava
  2. Scooter’s Coffee
  3. LongHorn Steakhouse
  4. The Habit Burger Grill
  5. Wawa
  6. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
  7. Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
  8. Rally House
  9. Olive Garden
  10. Jersey Mike’s Subs

Today is also Wawa Day, the retailer’s annual tradition celebrating the anniversary of the convenience store. This year’s Wawa Day marks Wawa’s 60th anniversary in the convenience retail space. To celebrate, Wawa will offer customers free hot coffee of any size at all stores, all day long. There will also be special 60-cent promotions.