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Marketing

Published October 16th 2015

Social Media for Restaurants: How Wendy’s Used Social to Increase Stock Price by 41%

The purchasing power of Generation Y is changing the face of social media for restaurants, as more and more brands are marketing to millennials.

The purchasing power of Generation Y is changing the face of social media for restaurants, as more and more brands are marketing to millennials.

According to Forbes, this group of 18-33 year olds make up a quarter of the US population and holds $1.3 trillion in spending power, but the last seven years have seen them cut restaurant visits by 21%.

As well as being alarming in itself, millennials are also an influential group for those around them – both younger and older.

David Palmer, Restaurant Analyst at RBC Capital Markets, has outlined the values he believes millennials expect when it comes to restaurants.

Millennials care about the ethics of their food and demand higher quality ingredients.

Restaurants need a strong digital presence, while also providing the convenience that today’s consumers expect, often through technological advances.

So which companies are changing their businesses to target this lucrative but elusive demographic?

We take a look at some of the brands who have changed their businesses and advertising to ensure they are successfully marketing to millennials.


Domino’s Pizza makes it easier to order

Millennials want quicker, easier ways to order, and Domino’s has taken convenience to a whole new level.

The pizza chain recently rolled out the ability to place an order by tweeting a pizza emoji to the Domino’s Twitter channel.

This is just the latest ordering method, joining an in-car app, texting, smartphone app, smart TVs and smartwatches, as well as the antiquated phone call or website visit.

Domino’s has been ahead of the game when it comes to digitizing their business for some time. They have demonstrated several innovative use cases of social media for restaurants.

For example, the company shows customers the progress of their order using the Domino’s Tracker.

The variety and ease of the ordering options demonstrate how the brand has listened to the changing expectations of its customers and adapted the business accordingly.

The ordering by tweet has also created buzz around the brand for their innovative approach, even if some people are struggling to use the service.

Social media for restaurants - Domino's

Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger launch

When Wendy’s test launched the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger they noticed a large amount of love on social media for the burger.

Using Brandwatch, they collected the comments across social media and combined this with their audience insights to create music videos for tongue-in-cheek love songs to the burger.

The cross channel approach initially posted videos on Facebook to instigate their viral spread, and as the campaign grew the videos were released on Youtube.

Restaurants on Social Media

The campaign tracked the sentiment behind the campaign, and the positive response encouraged them to keep releasing videos as the conversation spread.

The Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger lunch was the most successful new hamburger in the company’s 40-year history, and Wendy’s stock price increased by 41% during the campaign.


Chili’s and the Million Dollar Bun Glaze

Chili’s decided to appeal to the changing market by focusing on the phenomenon of sharing your food online.

They spent more than $750,000 on coating their burger buns in an egg glaze that would make it glisten when photographed.

Social media for restaurants - Chili's

To accompany this change, they now serve fries in a stainless steel holder, and stack their ribs neatly rather than dumping them on the side like you’re a character from the Flintstones.

The approach is simply to make their menu look more tempting in photos, increasing the number of shares online and thereby improving visibility on sites like Instagram.


While these examples differ in their approaches, what unites them all, along with their creativity, is that the brands understand their audience.

They are prepared to change their technology, marketing or products to more closely align with the market’s changing desires.

Understanding your customers requires a varied approach that considers a variety of sources in order to cover all demographics and obtain insights across a variety of media.

One of the key components of this research is social data. The volume of conversation is so large it cannot be ignored.

Our research shows that 32 percent of all UK brand mentions on Twitter center around the food and beverage industry – to read more, you can download our free report here.


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Crimson Hexagon has merged with Brandwatch. You’re in the right place!

From May 8th, all Crimson Hexagon products are now on the Brandwatch website. You’ll find them under ‘Products’ in the navigation. If you’re an existing customer and you want to know more, your account manager will be happy to help.