Which restaurant brands are topping DigitalCoCo’s proprietary Restaurant Social Media Index for Q2?
To find out who the Overall Top 250 brands are, we’ve compiled data from more than 93 million indexed U.S. social consumers in conjunction with 9,764 tracked restaurant brands in more than 240,000 locations across the nation. If you’re unfamiliar with the RSMI, a brand’s RSMI Score is determined by four main elements — influence, sentiment, engagement, and location-based actions — across 17 social media platforms. Aside from our Overall Top 250 list each quarter, the RSMI also gathers the Top Mobile Brands based on mobile engagement, Top Social Sentiment based on brand love by social consumers, brands with the Top Location-Based Activity, and brands with the Top Social Engagement. (Learn more about how the Index works here.)
Q2 2014: The Top 10 Restaurants
Subway: The “Eat Fresh” brand maintains its No. 1 spot this quarter. Since Q1 2013, we’ve seen a consistent pattern of brands holding the top spot for two quarters before being trumped by another, so it will be interesting to see whether Subway can hold on for Q3. It’s worth noting that Subway’s RSMI Score has increased significantly over the past three months — from 403.17 to 415.02. Throughout those three months, Subway touted its partnership with Disney when it added The Muppets backpacks to its kids meals and sponsored movie premieres like Maleficent. The sandwich brand also kept consistent with its underlying sports-forward social messaging by featuring a Facebook post of Subway fan and first draft pick Anthony Barr, as well as kicking off the World Cup tournament with a product-centric campaign (#StuffSubsSay), featuring discounted subs for the entire month of June. Catchy phrases like “Seize the oppor-tuna-ty” and “Hamirite?” ensued, resulting in nearly 200 Facebook shares each.
Buffalo Wild Wings: Climbing up two spots from Q1 to replace McDonald’s is Buffalo Wild Wings, stepping its game up with a RSMI Score of 414.22. BWWings is a brand for the man’s man, emphasizing sports as a major in-store driver. Between March Madness, the Stanley Cup and the World Cup, the NBA playoffs, and the beginning of baseball season, we can see why the brand’s sentiment and engagement soared. In Q2 on social, BWW unleashed a new, limited edition sauce flavor to its wings lineup (hello, Ginger Kick!), but didn’t announce the “winner” without teasers, which made fans talk. For those watching the NCAA March Madness games at the restaurant, guests who checked in (LBAs) got points for its “Blazin’ or Bust Bracket Challenge.”
McDonald’s: Don’t let McDonald’s declining Q2 profit numbers fool you: the classic burger brand only fell one spot on our list from Q1, with an increased RSMI Score of 410.19. Shifting into more of a lifestyle brand, McD’s pulled a Sweetgreen (kind of) and hosted a music festival event in West Hollywood during Coachella — not full-blown, but when it’s in Hollywood and littered with throngs of A-list celebs, does it matter? Also in Q2, McDonald’s boosted McCafe by offering a free small coffee on 4/13 and asking customers to tag their photos #FromWhereISip. In addition to the user-generated content campaign, iced coffee and breakfast were promoted with short animated videos on social. For the World Cup, McD’s offered diners a chance to win a trip to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and gave fry boxes a colorful twist to reflect original artwork from artists around the world.
Panera Bread: RSMI Score: 409.94
Starbucks: RSMI Score: 408.81
Firehouse Subs: RSMI Score: 408.71
Taco Bell: RSMI Score: 407.13
In-N-Out Burger: RSMI Score: 402.21
Wendy’s: RSMI Score: 393.57
Shake Shack: RSMI Score: 391.29
Compared to Q1, the Top 10 RSMI Restaurants for Q2 were fairly consistent, but Firehouse Subs, In-N-Out Burger and Shake Shack all jumped into the Top 10 list, pushing out Chipotle, Sonic Drive-In, and Hard Rock Cafe. Could it be that Chipotle’s price hike caused it to fall out of the Top 10 for the first time in over a year? While it’s recently been reported that the fast casual darling’s traffic actually grew 12.3% in Q2, consumer sentiment has not been so nice.
Jessica Bryant is a digital brand analyst for DigitalCoCo and leads research for the Social Insights platform. DigitalCoCo is the leading firm for social consumer research and digital brand development for the restaurant and hospitality business. Bryant is a seasoned researcher with a specialty toward consumer trends and culture shifts in the restaurant business.
From restaurants and wine to consumer packaged goods and produce marketing, did you know we cover multiple facets of the food and beverage industry with 14 food and beverage-related briefs in our network? Be sure to check out our complete list and subscribe — for free — to the briefs that will keep you on top of the news and trends for your business.