Social media is now entwined into the everyday activities of consumers. It is a comfortable environment for consumers where they are not afraid to be candid about their opinions. If a diner has a fantastic, good, mediocre, or bad experience at a restaurant — the chances are high that they are going to share their experience on social for everyone to see.
The uncontrolled environment of social media is often construed as a double-edged sword for businesses. But if restaurants can make sense of this unstructured social data, it can be used to better understand their customers and ultimately cater the dining experience to what their diners want and expect.
So which restaurants are performing the best by social consumer sentiment on food and service? Foodable has been releasing the Top 25 Restaurants monthly by city for over a year now. These rankings are determined by the organic social data pulled from 17 different social media platforms by the Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI), a comprehensive database proprietary to Foodable’s sister agency, DigitalCoCo.
The Top 25 Restaurants lists give restaurants and brands the opportunity to see how their local competition is stacking up with consumers, and for foodies to find quality restaurants — big names and hidden gems alike.
Foodable is taking it a step further with the first annual ranking of the Top 50 Restaurants. Instead of ranking the top restaurants by local social audience in that specific city or market geo-logication, the scope has been expanded to the restaurants in the best culinary cities in the country being rank against each other. The fabulous cities include Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
So without further ado here are the top five restaurants making the list.
- Bäco Mercat, LA: It is no surprise that this restaurant makes the list, especially at No. 1. The award winning restaurant is driven by Chef Josef Centeno, with a eastern and western Mediterranean inspired menu featuring ingredients that are sourced seasonally. The restaurant is active on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, where high-quality food photos are posted. The Bäco Mercat Facebook page has more than 500 reviews from diners and 19k guest check-ins.
- Bar Agricole, SF: The No. 2 is also on the West Coast and is a restaurant known for keeping it simple, fresh and elegant with a seasonally focused menu that changes daily. The restaurant engages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram regularly with food photos and real-time messages, such as “Happy Hour starts in 15 minutes. See you at the bar.”
- State Bird Provisions, SF: The No. 3 restaurant also hails from San Francisco. The creative menu is ever-changing and the James Beard Foundation named the restaurant the “Best New Restaurant” in 2013. The social data proves that consumers agree. The brand is active on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and has a Facebook review score of 4.7 out of 5 stars.
- Trois Mec, LA: This restaurant offers a French-inspired menu that changes nightly that has been highly acclaimed by the press and consumers alike. The restaurant has been named by LA Weekly as the No. 1 restaurant not once, but twice and it has a Facebook ranking of 4.7 out of 5 stars. The dining experience is so unique that to get a reservation, the diner has to buy a ticket, at least two weeks in advance on an exact day — on every other Friday morning.
- Le Pigeon, Portland: Rounding out the top five is Portland’s Le Pigeon, that offers an adventurous French-inspired menu by Chef Gabriel Rucker. The restaurant uses Twitter to feature food and behind-the-scene photos, related food articles, customer engagements, and restaurant/chef news.
So there you have it. The top five restaurants that made the list. Interestingly enough, all of them are on the West Coast. However, New York City’s restaurants also dominate the list, which is not surprising. Besides the usual renowned culinary cities, including LA, SF and NYC — restaurants in second-tier cities are making waves in the social sphere. Boston, D.C., and Portland have the most restaurants per city on the overall Top 50 list. This proves that the restaurant landscape is changing and these micro culinary scenes are gaining national recognition. Read the full list and report here.
Kerri Adams is managing editor at FoodableTV.
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