Trends Reshaping Social Media

By Myriam Rofrano, Social Media Coordinator 

Social media is always changing. One day Facebook is on top and the next day it’s Snapchat. Social media is now a necessary tool used by industries everywhere. It has given the mom-and-pops of the world a fighting chance against big corporations and chain restaurants. Now more than ever important to know where social media is going and how your business can utilize these trends to its advantage.

Facebook is moving towards an older demographic.

With the rise of new platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram, Facebook has seen and will continue to see a decline in its millennials users and an increase in its older-generation users. What does this mean for your business? Knowing your target demographic is key. If you're looking for those younger customers, Facebook may no longer be your best bet. 

Social Networks are the new search engines.

Although Google is still the number one search engine, when it comes to the food industry, this king of search engines may not be your first stop. Consumers will look to sites such as Yelp! and Facebook to see if certain restaurants are worth trying. The reviews, photos and opinions across social media of other people who have already visited these locations play a determining factor in these decisions. Social networks have become the one-stop-shop for anyone looking to try a new restaurant. With that being said, it is important to keep your online presence authentic to your brand.

Big data can help you reach your customer!

People put all kinds of information online, such as their interests, likes, dislikes and thoughts. With all this virtual information flying everywhere, it has become a marketer's dream. It is easier and will continue to become even easier to find information on your customers. Finding out what engages consumers is a great tool to help reach businesses make more effective choices.

Read more on social media trends here.      

How Mothers and Fathers Use Social Media Totally Differently

Once upon a time, social media was something only "the kids" were doing. Well, those days are LONG gone. Today, parents are all over social media and they are not just on the parent favorite platform Facebook either.

However, mothers and fathers use social platforms in rather different ways. Social media has become the main source of news for users and is a major source for parenting advice, according to a recent study by Pew Research Center. 

Here are a few ways that mother and father social behaviors differ-

  • Mothers engage much more in their social networks than fathers. 37% interact frequently, 39% interact sometimes, 18% interact hardly ever and 5% interact never. 
  • Mothers use Instagram and Pinterest more than fathers.
  • Linkedin is the only platform used more by fathers versus mothers. 

Read more here

Five Misconceptions About Millennials

The Millennial Generation has been a buzzword throughout the industry. Experts analyze their habits and make important business decisions based on the perceptions a Millennial may make. But what characteristics are true and not true for this group rising to dominate the nation's buying power?

Many things have been said about millennials, but according to I.R.I Worldwide, Chicago, millennials will spend about 290 billion on consumer packaged goods by 2020. If marketers want their fair share in earnings, they'll need to understand this distinct consumer group. The president of consumer and shopper marketing for I.R.I, Robert I. Tomei, has been studying millennials to provide a complete outlook on their personalities, beliefs, values and actual purchase behavior. Marketers need to take full advantage and grasp all they could learn about millennials to enhance their sales programs. I.R.I identified what they consider "five myths" about millennials in their latest research. 

Myth No. 1: All millennials are self-absorbed.  

The I.R.I found that 90 percent of millennials have success at being a good friend and 58 percent have success in service or community work.

Myth No. 2: Millennials avoid the traditional path.

73 percent of millennials are employed, 28 percent are married, 37 percent own a home and 38 percent are parents. Not too far off from the traditions of older generations.

Myth No. 3: Millennials are constantly glued to their mobile devices.

Half of these tech-savvy natives said they could live without their smartphones, while less than a third said they use mobile apps to buy products.

Myth No. 4: Millennials are not loyal to brands.

Millennials will show loyalty to brands they consider worthy, but they also enjoy a good bargain. Over half of millennials will choose quality over price. 

Myth No. 5: Traditional marketing doesn't resonate with millennials. 

Millennials are all about social media and online resources, but about two-thirds will still pull out those loyalty cards and coupons. Read More

Twitter Revenue Rises While User Growth Plunges

Twitter Inc. is obviously doing something right. With revenue growth going up 61 percent in the second quarter, the company's advertising business is making a big impact. Sadly, shares went down 7.2 percent to $33.90 during after-hour trading, as the company went on to post a discouraging user growth. Still, revenue was significantly higher then it had been a year ago, hitting $502.4 million at the end period of June 30, compared to the previous $312.2 million. However, this marked Twitter Inc.'s worst quarterly revenue as a public company, which has led the social-media service to look to improving its spending on its direct-sales ads, which encourage users to download an app or visit a website.

There are still more challenges this company has to face. Twitter's potential to lure more users comes into question as it struggles to duplicate the temporary comeback it made during the first three months of the year. The company stated 316 million users sign in to Twitter at least once a month, up 2.6 percent from the prior quarter. Twitter also said 12 million people use the service through messaging platforms, up from 6 million the previous three-month period. 

Twitter's user growth is monitored closely by investors anxious to see the social-media service reach as high as rival Facebook Inc. Facebook isn't an easy competition, considering its user count is five times as much as Twitter's. Before former CEO Dick Costolo stepped down, he aimed at steering investors' attention beyond focusing on the metrics of users logging in once a month. And in effort to reach 500 million visitors who come to Twitter without logging in, the company has made content more visible to try to persuade them to return more and make an active account. What will the company do to get users to come back? The biggest challenge for the next CEO is to turn Twitter into a mass-market product. Read More.

CMO: Social Data and Branding

Today's CMO better be a social one and we don't mean a talker. We obviously mean that they are a social guru. Social has become the forum to promote a brand's news, awareness, to share content marketing, and for a few, commerce. Like most things, to make a successful marketing campaign, it takes planning. The social CMO will find success from the early days of promoting, to the big launch, and far past the settlement. 

When using data gathered from social platforms, the CMO should determine which online platform is best to engage the target audience. This is where you can test your audience. How are they responding to this product? Are they excited for the launch? What about once it is out on the market- how are they enjoying it? What is the social feedback? Use social to listen to your customer and quickly adapt with this feedback in mind. For example, one of the biggest complaints at the restaurant Olive Garden was about the slower casual dining service and how it was not an option for a work lunch. That is why they launched "Pronto Lunch" to appeal to the consumers' demand of quicker speed of service and customization. Social has become a channel for your customers to give their brutally honest opinion. Embrace it and respond quickly. A recent study showed that 53 percent of customers who asked a brand a question on Twitter expect a response back within an hour - rising to 72 percent if it's a complaint. 

Using your social data as an insight for strategic decision making and action will help differentiate the social CMO from the average marketer. Which category do you fall in? Read More

Taco Bell Delivery Service

Save the drive and order online! Taco Bell finally announced its delivery service launch, DoorDash. This new delivery service will be available to over 90 locations and more than 200 restaurants in California and Texas. The cost of delivery is $3.99, typically available from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and should take approximately 38 minutes in total. Customers can place their orders through DoorDash website or use the mobile app that's on both iOS and android platforms. 

This announcement elicited excitement from customers on Twitter with users begging Taco Bell to bring its services to their city. The chain will continue to spread to more locations worldwide, so they can meet the demands of customers wanting convenience. Read More

TGI Friday's: Bring in The Millennials

The need for millennials attention is on high demand. TGI Friday's might win this battle with one simple request: a tweet for a burger. That's right! It's that simple. On Wednesday, July 8, any customer at any location who orders a hamburger will redeem a code to share on social-media. The first person who clicks on the link and gets the code first will get a free burger!

Social media is very vital for restaurants looking to sway in a younger audience and bring in customer traffic. Restaurants like Denny's use Twitter as a way to increase sales with their humorous tweets, Chili's has improved the look of their dishes for more Instagram worthy images and Taco Bell's mobile ordering app has brought prominent results for the chains business.

Last July, Friday's made headlines when they offered $10 unlimited appetizers. Millennials everywhere were sharing and tagging endless photos. What did that promotion do for the restaurant? Lets just say millennials were 32 percent of Friday's guest that summer. That was prior to being 20 percent before the promotion hit. Will this new tactic have better results? How does free burgers affect revenue?

 Read More.

Facebook Is Useful For Restaurant Operators

In this digital space, does privacy really exist anymore? With social media platforms available to everyone, a simple post, can reach anyone. 

A recent post by a restaurant manager in Ohio may inspire other operators to do the same thing. Two men decided they'd do an old hit-and-run on his restaurant Crop Bistro and Bar. Both suspects, who were later found to be brothers, have done this more than once. They dined and ditched at five different restaurants in the matter of two days. Steve Schimoler, owner and chef at Crop Bistro and Bar, wasn't going to let this go. As a warning to other local restaurants, he posted a photo of the men on Facebook. The following day, at an attempt of leaving without paying, David Flower, Johnny's general manager, saw the post from Schimoler the day before and that helped him quickly identify the two men. With that one simple post, word got around and those suspects can say good-bye to dining out in Ohio for good. Read More.

Dickey's BBQ Pitt: Barbecue and Big Data

Barbecue and big data? Yes that's right. Dickey's Barbecue Pitt has mashed together two completely opposite topics so that they could increase sales and customer understanding. With the help from iOLAP, big data and business intelligence service providers, they were able to bring forth a proprietary system called Smoke Stack. Smoke Stack uses the data from point-of-sale system, marketing, loyalty programs, surveys, and inventory to provide feedback from sales and performance.

Data is looked at every 20 minutes in order to make decisions more efficiently. Dickey's use of big data has helped them choose exactly what items to place on the menus. All the analytics used has improved the restaurant's performance. Following these five metrics: sales, simplicity of preparation, profitability, quality, and brand. If all targets are met, they become the permanent fixtures for which ever one of the 514 restaurants they operate. iOLAP has delivered the data framework behind Dickey's big data operation. As CIO Laura Rea Dickey said, "We've been very fortunate in finding an excellent partner, and being able to pull together technology that's really met our needs - we've made barbecue and big data a kind of strange reality." Read More.

Tabletop Tech Improves the Restaurant Industry

Customers want a stress-free experience when they go out to eat. They want quality service and expect efficiency from their waiter/waitress. On a busy Friday night, service tends to be a little slower. Making it longer for customers to place their orders, receive their food, and pay to leave. But that's not that case anymore. Thanks to technology, customer to server relationships are beginning to wither away in hopes to increase customer satisfaction.

A new point-of-sale system being used is called RAIL. It's a digital checkbook that runs on Wi-Fi. So when guests receive it, they get their itemized receipt right away and can pay the bill immediately. Or maybe they prefer to use their own system of payment. TabbedOut and Zapper allows customers to use their mobile app to pay their tabs directly from their device. They could also be faced with a tablet at the table. This will ensure a customer's security, as well as enhance the speed at which the restaurant runs. How it works is fairly simple. The option of viewing the menu is right there. After that, placing the order. When the meal comes to an end, instead of having to wait for their credit cards to process, customers pay immediately at the table without their card ever leaving their hand. Read More.

Instagram's Impact in Professional Cooking

Over the past few years, social media has brought many companies a great deal of publicity. Everyone wants their followers to know where they've been and what they're doing. One of the most used hashtags on Instagram is #food, with 178 million photos. Alongside #foodporn, with 56 million photos. "It's all about the exposure," said Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn in San Francisco. "Instagram came to give a voice to chefs and to the food they serve." Chef's are enjoying this way of displaying their foods. That it makes them want to perfect the presentation and the way it taste, so that we feel more compelled to snap a photo and post it everywhere.

Clearly, Instagram and social media marketing can be a powerful tool to grow a Chef's reputation. Of course this all depends on the quality of the photos. These days, people are sharing their experiences virtually. So this can cause some tension for a chef. Making sure that not only the food is displayed properly but that the setting looks just as good. There are many chef's who detest the fact that their customers approach the food like it's a photo shoot and some even ban mobile devices from the restaurant. How technology really enhanced the dining experience, though? The photo posting process is somewhat extensive– by the time a diner finished picking the right filter, choosing the hashtags, and waiting restless to see that first like - the food is now cold. Nonetheless, social sharing has become part of consumer's lives, so embracing the guests love for it can go a long way. Read More.

Tweeting Emojis to Order Food

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New month, new ideas? June just started and we have a new online ordering system to look forward too. Fooji (Food and emoji combined) is launching this month, allowing consumers to tweet the food emoji they're in the mood for @gofooji and have it delivered to them. The company was founded by two employees for WeStyle, style advice app, Gregg Morton and Erik Zamudio. 

The consumer creates an account that is linked to their twitter handle, they tweet the emoji, then Fooji will go ahead and select a local restaurant. Since the tweets will not include any writing, Fooji chooses where the food will be ordered from based off the top rated restaurants. A visit on the companies website reveals that all meals cost $15 and the consumer has no say on where they want the food to come from. So no preferences can be made, even for those who are allergic to certain foods. Now if you check out your emoji keyboard, you'll notice that we have a very limited amount of food emojis. Not to worry! Last week, Unicode announced 38 new emojis will be developed and designed to come out in 2016. Fooji is set to launch this month in New York City and hopefully expand to other cities. Read More.

Mobile App in Canada Aims to End Lunchtime Lineups

A college student in Toronto created a solution to deal with the long lines he would encounter trying to grab food in between classes. Always a believer in technology and fascinated by the convenience of mobile, Kabir Daswani founded Grabb, the mobile app that is taking the Toronto food app scene by storm. To avoid lines, users can pre-order and pre-pay with the app and they'll receive a notification when their food is ready for pick up. Approximate wait time is available in the app and access to where you are in the "virtual queue", how many people are using the app ahead of you. Currently, the app partners with about 30 Toronto restaurants including both large establishments and smaller local spots. Daswani has had a positive experience securing clients due to restaurant owners openness to technology. In order to stay relevant with Millennials, its not just about the food anymore. Branding and services that can be accessed with smartphones is just as important as what consumers are eating. Read More   

Google Makes Mobile Ordering Even Easier

Consumers no longer have to scramble through the yellow pages or dial 411 on their telephone devices to find the number of a local restaurant. Google continues to evolve their search engine, especially when it comes to finding restaurants. Not only is the search engine integrated with Yelp, now so are multiple mobile ordering platforms.

Six well-known companies are as follows -- Seamless, Grubhub, Eat24, Delivery.com, BeyondMenu and MyPizza.com. What google has done is offer users the ability of tapping on a section called "Place an order." They are then redirected  to the search site and enables them the opportunity of not only seeing their choices of food and restaurants but also the delivery preferences. 

Looking back at 2012 and 2013, $25 million and $46 million were supplied in food ordering companies. But the growth potential for this segment continues to increase– in 2014 a whomping $600 million was invested. Yet, most consumers are still calling in to place their orders. That is sure to change in the next couple of years as we continue in this technological era.  Read More

Using Location-Based Data to Your Advantage and Other Insights from the LSA's 2015 Conference

Mobile phones are so much more than a device to make our lives easier. They are no longer known as cell phones, but rather smartphones and mobile devices because they serve a countless number of functions. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 46% of smartphone users say that this device is something "they couldn't live without." This may sound a bit dramatic, but these devices have become merely extensions of ourselves. With that being said– this has created a rather distracted consumer, but it has also created a rather accessible one for brands. 

Because these devices are glued to consumers, this mean brands can track their customer's behaviors and target new customers in the most accurate way possible through location-based data. An effective way to collect this data is through VenueBeacon. These are devices placed near the POS system. Once a customer is within the 2 inches and as far as 200 feet of the beacon, this device can collect valuable information from their mobile devices– such as their search history, purchase history, frequency of visits, and more. 

And even though targeting new customers has become easier, this means brands should be even more careful to push effective and relevant content. The more personalized, the better. Read More 

Twitter Opens Direct Messaging

Once upon a time (well, only about 10 days ago) Twitter would only only allow you to direct message (DM) users who were following your account. That is no longer the case. However, users have to enable this feature in order to allow DMs from anyone. 

Although this has opened another door of communication, this could turn into a "slippery slope" if brands don't respect the user's privacy. Spamming excessive unwanted messages to users (even if they are your target customer) to push your product or brand, will more than likely detour the consumer. But on the flip side, brands and companies should enable these messages on their accounts. This is just another place where their customers can reach out privately and let's face it Twitter is a platform that millions are customers are comfortable with.

Do you think brands will use this feature inappropriately? Will this lead users to not use Twitter as regularly? Read More

How the Restaurant Industry is Harnessing Big Data

Technology continues to invade both the front and back of the house of restaurants. Big data is now being collected from multiple sources, including POS terminals and social media outlets. The analysis of this collected information is not only being used to better understand guests, but also to make operational decisions. For example, the social data collected by Dinner Lab- the "social dining experiment" is used by the chefs that cook at the pop-up dinners. The social data collected after the pop-up event is how they get feedback on their dishes and then incorporate it into their restaurant's menus. Mobile payments and mobile delivery allow for restaurants to keep track of what their loyal following is ordering. For example, Panera customizes their rewards based on what the guest has ordered previously. So if a user repetitively orders their "pick two" menu option, they may potentially get $2 off a pick two in the near future. These personalized rewards are one of the ways that the brand validates their customer.

This data is also being used to measure staff performance– specifically with the data pulled from POS terminals, operators can track which employees are selling the most specials or which receive the highest tips.

We completely understand the power of big data- RSMI has indexed over 225 million consumers globally– making this the largest restaurant data set available. We have analyze over 15,000 foodservice brands globally and have broken the data down in our RSMI reports. This information has provided crucial business intelligence to billion dollar brands to smaller brands with only a few units. 

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Even "Boring" Brands Can Have Social Media Success

It is consistently being proven on Social Media that a company doesn't necessarily have to be "exciting" to gain a following. This just means the brand has to get creative. It's not so much about the actual products or services your company provides, but rather the community you build around the brand. This is what the company 3M is doing and with 121,000 Twitter followers they are crushing the myth that "boring" brands cannot have followers. You may not be familiar with 3M by name but you know its products- Post Its, Ace Bandages, Scotchgard along with a variety of industrial products.

3M uses Twitter as a way to teach their customers about the science and technology behind their products. They've noticed that the more knowledge the consumers have, the more brand loyalty they have. It's not about the products, its about education and science. They consistently engage their followers and ask questions which has given them tremendous success. A simple question of "what does science mean to you" spawned over 200 retweets and 500 favorites. Read More    

The Top Restaurants for First Dates

According to analyzed data from the dating app, Clover, Starbucks is the most popular place for people to meet on first dates. The rest of the data confirmed that most consumers prefer casual establishments in general for first date spots.

While one might expect bars, night clubs, and fine dining restaurants to be more popular in this category, it's the more relaxed environments that come out on top. Specifically, 51% of men prefer to meet at restaurants, while 52% of women prefer coffee shops. On the other side of the spectrum– only 18% of men and 13% of women would choose a bar for a first date.  Here are the top ten and the results may surprise you....

1. Starbucks
2. Chipotle
3. Panera 
4. The Cheesecake Factory
5. Texas Roadhouse
6. Buffalo Wild Wings
7. Olive Garden
8. Chilli's
9. In and Out Burger
10. Applebees

Read More

The Top 100 Leading Digital Brands in the Restaurant Industry and More

We live in a digital world and more and more companies are utilizing big data as a way to gain information about their company and its customers. Harnessing the right information is imperative to the growth and success of any business. But in order to make strategic decisions, the right tools and data analysis must be in place. Luckily, RSMI has taken the guesswork out of data and has compiled all the information you need into one report. The data is presented in a way that is easy to comprehend making it the go to source for brand intelligence in the restaurant industry. RSMI is the largest and most experienced database for everything involving restaurants and hospitality. We examine in detail five core intelligence categories: sentiment, influence, engagement, location-based actions and mobile engagement.  All of our data stems from unsolicited consumer input making it the most accurate representation of the consumer population. 

So what does this report include? 

  • 24 Charts & Rankings
  • 3 Segment Rankings - Casual, QSR, Fast Casual
  • 2 Top 100 Rankings in Overall and Fast Casual
  • 4 Top 25 Rankings in Social and Digital
  • 3 Top 10 Rankings in QSR, Casual and Sentiment
  • First Food & Service Sentiment Scoring in the RSMI (available for the first time)
  • Over 2000 Data Points on leading digital brands
  • 3 Case Studies (Chipotle, Panera Bread and Wendy's)
  • Custom brand specific consumer data reports
  • Mobile, Influencer and Location-based Action Reports