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Published May 19th 2015

Research: Social Listening in the Restaurant, Food and Beverage Industry

Our latest report examines how leading Restaurant, Food & Beverage brands are leveraging the capabilities of social media

The restaurant, food and beverage industry, accompanied by a passionate and increasingly informed consumer base, is erratic.

With the ferocity of today’s research, trends, diets and the like, products and brands that were once considered staples are now being brought into question. Conversely, products that were once obscure now blanket the shelves of grocery stores and restaurant menus.

These shifts are entirely remodeling the face of the restaurant, food and beverage industry.

Perhaps more frightening for industry leaders is that these shifts, originating from environmental, cultural, and economic influences, are extremely difficult to predict.


Yet while the swing of consumer demand may be difficult to predict, one thing is certain – the course of the restaurant, food and beverage industry will be propelled (and at the least chronicled) by the Facebook walls and Twitter feeds of the average consumer.

In our latest report, we examine the online activity, performance and unique social media applications of leaders in the industry.

An industry overview

The report covers the social presence of five key brand sectors: quick serve restaurants, chain restaurants, beverage brands, food manufacturers and cereal brands.


Perhaps unsurprisingly, leading quick serve restaurants are among the most frequently mentioned brands in the industry.

Yes, McDonald’s was a clear favorite in share of voice.

Yet Taco Bell and Pizza Hut may not have been such obvious leaders. Their position may be attributed to their highly active Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Quantity ≠ Quality

Still, as CNBC reporter Eric Chemi astutely points out, quantity does not always necessitate quality.

The following figure is a snapshot of the Restaurant, Food & Beverage Social Index taken from the report:


While Taco Bell is the leader in Social Visibility, their Net Sentiment score ranks among the bottom ten.

In fact, Social Engagement, which measures how well brands are at responding to their audiences and how well their social content performs, seems to be the most important factor in determining leadership.

A missed opportunity

Yet despite the importance of responding to one’s audience, restaurant, food and beverage brands perform quite poorly at replying to both praises and criticisms online.

The recent report includes a study that examines the responsiveness of 40 industry-leading restaurant, food and beverage brands.

Uncovering organically occurring tagged complaints, tagged praises and untagged complaints on Twitter, we evaluated how many of these brands actually responded to those randomly selected comments.


The results revealed that these brands missed opportunities to amplify praise or alleviate criticism on the majority of directly tagged Tweets. For negative untagged Tweets, not a single brand responded to a complaint.

Furthermore, the restaurant, food and beverage brands’ response rates are slightly worse than those examined in a similar study on retail brands.

Social media is unique in that it provides the opportunity for major brands to communicate with their audience in a way traditional media has never allowed.

By not responding to the majority of these conversations, businesses are failing to provide for their consumers’ interest and build relationships with their interested audience.

Being responsive to a comment, whether it’s negative or positive, is valuable.

Read the Report

Our latest report examines how leading Restaurant, Food and Beverage brands are leveraging the capabilities of social media.

The report on restaurant, food and beverage brands includes:

  • Industry-level and brand-specific social media insights such as the share of voice across sectors and brands
  • A map of alcohol trends across the US and UK based on over a million Tweets
  • A study on how effective 40 industry-leading brands are at responding to social media complaints
  • Several expert listening strategies that drives today’s social businesses
  • The Restaurant, Food & Beverage Social Index, evaluating 50 industry-leading brands across four key aspects

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