Restaurants Pick Up the Social Media Gauntlet — But There’s Much More on the Way

It’s becoming increasingly clear that restaurants need to push their marketing further out from their restaurant to capture and retain customers. According to a nifty infographic from the National Restaurant Association, 28% of customers use social media to choose a restaurant; 27% use consumer-driven review sites.

Frankly these numbers seem low, and are low I am sure when you look at younger demographics- the customers who could be with you for the long haul. But even these suspiciously low numbers paint a powerful picture.

This means the decision-making process is happening long before customers walk into your restaurant for dinner.  They did it before they left their office or while surfing their phone. They did it while chatting or texting with their dinner companions while checking restaurant listings and reviews.

Restaurants are not blind to what this means — 9 in 10 restaurant operators say social media will become more important and 95% expect to be on Facebook within two years (if they are not already).

But the percent of diners who are driven by social media and consumer reviews is not the most important data point for restaurant operators. There’s a new digital landscape for restaurants to take advantage of emerging, just as they begin to master social media.

Any guesses? We’ll be posting part two with the answer later today.