October 22 2014

Competing with the Refrigerator: 3 Ways To Get Millennials To Dine Out

According to a new study from the NPD Group, Millennials are eating about one fewer meal out per week. And one less meal out a week adds up! Millennials are now making their meals at home. With the low job prospects for Millennials it’s logical to expect Millennials to spend less money on luxuries, like dining out. But, cost isn’t the only factor. Millennials desire a craveable, value-oriented, frictionless, and user-centric dining experience. How can you align with the desires of Millennials to ensure that you’re fulfilling their wishes and beating the fridge?


October 20 2014

Is Service Speed Affecting Arby’s & Carl’s Jr?

Since 1964, Arby’s has been focused on serving quality meats, working to prefect their “Meatcraft™.” They boast getting in at 8am every morning (even though they don’t open until 11am) because good food takes time to prepare.

But are they spending too much time focused on meat and not enough on other areas of the customer experience?

Loyalty Matchup: Arby's v Carl's Jr


October 13 2014

Guest Room Matchup: How can Aloft & Kimpton Beat AirBnB?

After a rough few years, the hospitality industry is on the uptick. PWC expects a 7.6% RevPAR increase in 2014, and industry-wide occupancy levels are expected to reach 64.8% in 2015—the highest since 1995.

But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. There’s a new player coming in to disrupt the market: AirBnB.

In this week’s matchup, we’re taking a slightly different approach. With Aloft and Kimpton well matched, we’ve added context from what guests say about AirBnB as well.  We’re looking at online comments and reviews to discover the insights and subsequent actions that will help Aloft and Kimpton stand out from the competitive mix.

Loyalty Matchup: aloft v Kimpton


October 8 2014

MISSING: The Case of the Disappearing Social Media Team

Social media teams seem to be shrinking. When I first read this in Useful Social Media’s (USM) “State of Corporate Social Media” whitepaper, I thought it was odd considering social is being adopted as a rapid pace. But the fact is social media teams are shrinking because social is becoming more integrated across organizations. What does this mean for you, your organization and the future of social media?


October 6 2014

Who has the most loyal Fitness Fanatics: Yogaworks or SoulCycle?

The fitness industry is very different today than it was 20 years ago. A new Huffington Post article forecasted the top fitness trends for 2015. The top two were High-Intensity Interval Training (like cycling) and Recovery (think restorative yoga). Fitness and Wellness is not different from any other industry when it comes to the competitive landscape. To keep customers and grow, it’s important for Fitness and Wellness companies to listen to customer feedback so they can prioritize the areas that need additional focus and changes.

Let’s look at this example comparing Yogaworks and SoulCycle to show how customer feedback can help identify and prioritize areas that have the greatest impact on customer loyalty and attrition.


September 30 2014

10 Unforgettable Customer Service Stories

Recently, we published an infographic about the reign of customer service and experience as the deciding factor when it comes to consumer purchases. More now than ever it seems that stories of exceptional customer service go viral. And since, 59% of consumers will try a new brand for a better service experience, these stories encourages prospects to do business with you.

Help Scout recently came out with an eBook featuring 10 stories of unbelievable customer service. All the examples demonstrate employees going above and beyond to help a customer, and how not only was the customer thrilled, but the brand’s image improved publically.


September 22 2014

And the Winner of this Menu Matchup is… Chipotle v Qdoba

I’ve always preferred Chipotle to Qdoba Mexican Grill. This preference was formed in high school. I thought the way the food tasted, the price and the overall experience were better at Chipotle. Plus at Chipotle I can be as picky as I want going down the assembly line, “Only half rice, please. Could you add MORE peppers and onions? I want all the salsas.” Whereas with Qdoba, I order off the menu and those little tweaks to add, remove or substitute ingredients are more of a pain (and I fear the order will be wrong). This opinion has stuck with me all these years, and given the choice I always pick Chipotle.

However, this matchup between Chipotle and Qdoba has made me reconsider where I’ll get my next burrito bowl. Neither fast casual restaurant gets bad scores in this menu matchup, but Qdoba has more positive sentiment around core menu items, meats and other ingredients.


September 18 2014

Could California’s Law Protecting Customer Reviewers Be the First of Many?

StickersIt has never been wise for businesses to silence customers from offering their feedback, and now it’s illegal to do so in California. In a landmark decision involving customers’ rights, a new California law will outlaw “non-disparagement” clauses that attempt to prevent unsatisfied customers from posting negative reviews online. That should help West Coast Yelpers to rest easy without fear of retribution from companies, and they have California Governor Jerry Brown to thank.

The law was sparked in the wake of recent lawsuits over retailers trying to charge customers huge fees for allegedly violating “non-disparagement” clauses often hidden in long user agreements that many consumers unknowingly agree to when using a service. Companies mistakenly developed these policies in a last-ditch effort to control how people share opinions about their experiences online. But brands cannot stop customers from using social media to share their customer service experiences, according to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research, 80 percent of consumers frequently share bad and good reviews via social media and review sites. Can you imagine if brands tried to fine people across the country with these types of fees? (more…)

September 15 2014

Loyalty Matchup: Sports Authority v Cabela’s

With Cabela’s customer loyalty score clocking in 9 percentage-points higher than Sports Authority, Cabela’s wins this retail loyalty matchup.

To determine the winner, we drilled into customer comments around the key loyalty drivers: Products and Personnel.

Customer Loyalty Sports Authority v Cabela's


September 10 2014

5 Questions with Le Pain Quotidien’s Erin Pepper

LPQThe 200-location global French bakery and restaurant, Le Pain Quotidien, takes listening to guests seriously. Director of Guest Relations, Erin Pepper, recently took a seat at our communal table in preparation for the Hospitality Technology cover story, “The Rise of Social Hospitality.” Hear what she had to say about using newBrand for her restaurant chain’s social customer relationship management solution.  (more…)

September 9 2014

Are Foursquare’s Changes Good for Business?

Made popular with on-the-go Millennials excited to score a deal or leave a tip for other city dwellers, Foursquare made checking in at brag worthy locations fun for its users. (Not to mention profitable for the business advertisers hoping to grab more foot traffic.)

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 4.09.32 PMFoursquare recently released a major app update that shipped off its signature check-in feature to a spin-off app called Swarm. While, users confess they miss being crowned “the mayor” of locations and collecting gamified badges from businesses, Foursquare claims these are just growing pains and that its recent relaunch and feature split will ensure both apps’ popularity with more users.

With the new and revised apps getting low ratings in iTunes, let’s dive into the impact these changes have for restaurant marketers and operators.


September 8 2014

Coffee Controversy: Starbucks v Dunkin’ Donuts

People love their coffee. In fact, specialty coffee sales are increasing 20% year over year and account for nearly 8% of the 18 billion dollar US coffee market. And coffee consumption out paces soft drinks for the majority of Americans, according to the National Coffee Association’s 2014 study.

With coffee consumption up, it leaves us wondering, who’s serving the best coffee? With this question in mind, we focused on the two coffee powerhouses for this week’s loyalty matchup: Starbucks goes head-to-head against Dunkin’ Donuts.

Customer Loyalty Starbucks v Dunkin Donuts - Logo Header


September 3 2014

6 Ways to Keep Gym Members Coming Back

6-ways-keep-gym-member-loyalty_300x300American adults are working out more than ever. We spend more than $60 billion annually to keep slim—from paying for gym memberships and buying Fitbits, to joining weight-loss programs. An industry founded to fight obesity has turned into a competitive market where trendy pilates and barre studios battle with indoor cycling centers for the same local clientele. With the business of working out getting increasingly more niche and fragmented, the definition of what it means to be “a gym” is evolving past a room full of treadmills.

Entrepreneurs find the low startup costs for urban-centered gyms appealing and according to IBISWorld’s Gym market research report, 36 percent of gym industry establishments are lowering overhead by offering instructors of free classes or cool gym merchandise, instead of a salary.

With consumer preferences shifting, what can fitness centers and spas do to keep their members happy, coming back and recommending? After analyzing thousands of online customer experience reviews for client resorts, gyms and game centers, newBrandAnalytics has uncovered the 6 secrets to cornering the fitness market.


September 2 2014

Which QSR Makes the Best Fries? Loyalty Matchup: Burger King v Wendy’s

With Burger King’s plans to acquire Tim Horton’s, we thought it was appropriate to release a matchup about BK. Burger King is going head-to-head against Wendy’s, another QSR giant.

We looked at food sentiment, limited time offers (LTOs), beverages, and service to round out the loyalty scores this week.

Note: As always, these matchups are created from customer feedback posted on review sites and social networks.

Loyalty Matchup: Burger King v Wendy's

August 25 2014

Pizza Showdown: Papa John’s v Domino’s

I’ve found most people have a favorite pizza place, whether it’s a local pizzeria or a major brand, they have a go-to for carryout.

As you might expect with QSR pizza chains, the main loyalty driver is the menu. How good is the pizza, and how good are the side orders? This week’s loyalty matchup examines what people are saying about Papa John’s and Domino’s. Which gets the most positive chatter online?


August 25 2014

CMOs, Do You Know What It’s Like Being Your Customer?

As a marketer, it’s your job to draw in customers with exciting promotions, events, and campaigns. You slave to build out the perfect offer, get a massive amount of potential customers interested, and then you hand them over to the operations and customer experience teams. But do you know how service is delivered to your customers and if it matches the promises your campaigns are making? Understanding the customer experience is now about more than just knowing the in-store buying process. In the era of online customer feedback marketers need to truly understand what it means to be a customer in order to flip prospects to customers and maintain customer satisfaction. Fortunately, new technology allows marketers to gain a working knowledge of their customer services department and if good service is delivered. Here are three ways marketers can work more collaboratively with operations, customer service, and customer experience teams to create loyal brand advocates:


August 22 2014

2 Must Knows From Zoës Kitchen CMO that Will Make You a Restaurant Rockstar

Fast casual is the fastest growing segment of the restaurant industry, and for good reason. Cost-conscience consumers can trade down to receive a quick, casual dining experience without sacrificing the quality of food. And while it would be tough to start up a new quick-serve chain in such an over-saturated segment, the door is wide open in fast casual—just look at the success of Chipotle and Panera. But a few smaller players, like Texas-headquartered Zoës Kitchen with 111 locations, are quickly making a name for themselves with busy moms and the fresh ingredient seekers of the highly-desired Millennial consumer group.

Zoës Kitchen’s secret weapon is listening and acting on insights learned from guest feedback found in web surveys and social media. For the last two years, Zoës has used newBrandAnalytics as their insights dashboard to track consumer chatter and activity at the brand level, regional level and the location level. The partnership with newBrandAnalytics, as well as the scoop on Zoës Kitchen’s IPO where their restaurant chain was valued at $276 million, were hot topics on the Social Restaurant Podcast with Nate Riggs. (more…)

August 18 2014

Loyalty Matchup: Applebee’s vs TGIFridays

Earlier this year, Applebee’s announced they would begin rolling out tabletop tablets across more than 1,800 Applebee’s locations. These tablets make it easier to order favorite items and pay your check at your convenience. Mike Archer, president of Applebee’s, told Forbes, “The device puts control of the restaurant experience in the hands of our guests. Speed of payment is the first thing that guests will notice.”  There will continue to be improvements to customer experience as supporting technology becomes more readily available.

This week the team dove into customer feedback around service for Applebee’s and TGIFridays. How do these two American-fare restaurants compare to each other when it comes to service standards?  (more…)

August 14 2014

Is Your Brand Socially Mature? Part 3

We’ve reached the final stage of Social Media Maturity. In stage one you learned the value of listening and engaging customers on social in order to better understand the voice of your customer. Stage two was about the importance of leveraging social data to define strategy. The final stage of social maturity is when you are operationalizing insights gained from customer feedback. You’ve reached social media maturity when you take real action on an ongoing and sustainable basis from guest feedback, then pushing that information to the right members of your team to improve on a brand and location level. There is no shortage of data that can provide actionable insights. However, finding the data to help you improve operationally if you don’t use social intelligence to search it out is incredibly difficult and inefficient. With industry specific insight and location level information from social data, businesses can make better decisions and improve operationally. This is the best way to show customers you hear them, something that is greatly valued and will attract them to your location. (more…)

August 11 2014

Storage Wars: Extra Space Storage v Public Storage

I don’t ask much from my storage facilities. I want the staff to be friendly, the facility to be clean and rent not to cost an arm and a leg. This is pretty much in line with what social customer feedback points to as well.

This week we’re comparing Extra Space Storage and Public Storage for our loyalty matchup. As a reminder, when we put these together we look only at the comments customers are making on review sites and in social media.

August 11 2014

Good Times Making Smart Business Moves with newBrandAnalytics

newBrand customer, Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard, a regional chain of quick-service restaurants located primarily in Colorado, provides a menu of high-quality, all natural hamburgers, fresh frozen custard, fresh-cut fries and fresh lemonades. goodtimes_burger

Good Times announced that its same store sales increased 13.7% in July 2014 over the prior year’s increase of 18.4%. This represents a two-year increase of 32.1%. According to President and CEO Boyd Hoback, their multi-layered sales growth is owed to a combination of transaction growth as well as average check and is a testament to recent product innovation, a reinvestment in facilities, strong brand story and first-rate execution by operations. These initiatives are measured and supported by newBrand via customer impressions.

Good Times currently collects, analyzes and manages voice-of-customer feedback for their 36 corporate and franchised restaurants using newBrand’s online reputation software platform. With a focus on understanding the actual customer experience on a location-by-location level, Good Times blends the power of real-time social media feedback from review and social networking sites (such as Twitter, Yelp and Facebook) with customers’ suggestions collected with mobile-friendly online surveys. These surveys are managed by newBrand and are crafted using best practices to collect candid feedback. Other chains that leverage nBA’s Instant product are: (more…)

August 7 2014

Is Your Brand Socially Mature? Part 2

One of the essential parts of creating and running a business is defining a set of goals the company aims to achieve. Strategic decision making, or strategic planning, is crucial for determining the courses of action. Customer feedback gives you the information you need in order make the strategic decisions that will allow your business to meet its goals. This is why the second stage of social media maturity is Strategy. When you begin to leverage qualitative customer feedback to derive strategic direction you’ve elevated from the first stage, Marketing, to the second. Those who are not yet at this maturity stage assume they can just look at star ratings, but this gives you a very limited picture. In fact, 29% of all five-star reviews contain at least one negative insight. If you are not analyzing the verbatims, you are missing insights that show where you are doing well and where you need to improve.

For example, Nando’s Peri Peri USA looks to social to confirm they are meeting core brand mission and value. Nando’s focused on comments that contained themes mentioning great service, knowledgeable employees, or friendliness and link those to the restaurant and the team on a location level basis. Furthermore, these types of comments link back to the mentality they’re trying to instill across the organization. Nando’s positively reinforces the sentiments they wanted to hear through monthly contests where the winning restaurant receives a monetary prize. Nando’s wants to create a culture where staff cares about their scores and hold each other accountable for being friendly and knowledgeable about the menu. They are now using social data to reinforce brand values. (more…)

August 5 2014

Organization’s Attempt at Intimidating Guest Reviewers Backfires

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 10.08.07 AMConsumers trust other people’s opinions more than they trust brand messaging. As word of mouth continues to go gangbusters, reviews will be posted everywhere on everything from where to get the best ice cream to how to find the cleanest hotel bathrooms. People use online feedback to dodge crummy customer experiences.

A few overachieving brands in the retail, restaurant and hotel industries, such as the customers who employ newBrand’s customer engagement platform, got wise early on and started embracing social reviews as a way to diagnose operational issues with their service staff and store facilities. Best practice is to ask guests for online comments, giving the brand the opportunity for recovery if reviews are poor, and attracting new guests if reviews are good.

But it seems recently, some companies have misunderstood the impact of user reviews and have taken a counterintuitive approach to safeguarding their online reputation. Like the Union Street Guest House in Hudson, New York, that has a clause in its reservation policy stating that it fines guests who leave bad online reviews. The clause reads:  (more…)

August 4 2014

Where do Pet Lovers Shop? Loyalty Matchup: Petco vs PetSmart

Are you a Dog person or a Cat person? Most people have a strong affinity for one or the other. Regardless of whether you are a dog lover, cat lover, or have a collection of exotic fish, you have to buy pet supplies somewhere, and the options are endless: Petco, PetSmart, Pet Supplies Plus, Amazon, Costco, Target, the list goes on and on. But chances are you frequent the one with the best selection of products and offers the best pet owner experience.

This loyalty matchup compares two leading pet suppliers: Petco vs PetSmart. When putting together this matchup, we used only the data that’s publically available on social and online review sites. These are excellent places to capture the voice of the customer and gain a deeper understanding of why customers frequent your stores.

August 1 2014

How to Measure Employee Engagement using Social Listening

Employee Engagement in RestaurantsThe first half of 2014 marked the strongest six-month job growth performance in more than eight years. According to Bruce Grindy, Chief Economist at The National Restaurant Association, restaurants continue to be among the leaders in job growth, “with the industry adding a net 32,800 jobs in June and more than 173,000 jobs during the first six months of the year. Overall, restaurant employment was up 3.1 percent on a year-to-date basis through June 2014, nearly double the 1.7 percent gain in total U.S. employment.”

As a restaurant operator, you’re likely hiring more people to support expansion efforts. But what are you doing to ensure employees are engaged? There are many ways to evaluate employee engagement, and it’s an important element given the direct impact employees have on the guest experience. (more…)

July 31 2014

Is Your Brand Socially Mature? Part 1

A holistic customer experience management and voice of the customer program goes beyond traditional surveys to include social media conversations. Effectively integrating feedback across channels results in operational improvements that earn customer loyalty and affinity. The effectiveness of using data-driven social intelligence depends on a brand’s social media maturity. The more mature the company, the better they are able to leverage social market intelligence. There are three stages of social media maturity: Marketing, Strategy and Operations.

Recently, Sepanta Bagherpour, Director of Marketing at Nando’s Peri-Peri USA, and Joshua Levine, Director of Operations at STARR Restaurants, joined Ashish Gambhir, newBrandAnalytics’ Co-Founder, to discuss the three stages of social media maturity and how it has influenced their success. This three part series will explain each stage and highlight customer success stories. (more…)

July 16 2014

First Watch Engages with Yelp Reviewers

According to a Harvard Business School study, every star on a Yelp review leads to a 5 to 9 percent increase in revenue for restaurants. Your peers may say Yelp is just a headache, but there’s no denying it’s one of the most useful review source sites, as it affects your online reputation and offers operational insights.

Yelp By the NumbersBut collecting, analyzing and responding to every Yelp review can get overwhelming, especially if you’re a medium to large-sized restaurant chain. For this reason, segment leaders are increasingly turning to time-savings tools such as complete social feedback platforms to prioritize actions at the local level. (more…)

July 16 2014

6 Reasons Why Brands Replaced Mystery Shops With Real Customer Feedback – PART 2

In our last post, we explored three of the top six reasons why companies have reallocated their mystery shopping budget and turned to using the social insights and customer feedback programs. This time we delve deeper into the strategic benefits of analyzing operational intelligence from the unsolicited comments on the Internet.

Let’s first recap what we know: Customer Feedback

Mystery shoppers don’t represent average customers.

Shops don’t allow for natural observations. 

‘Shops’ can be duped with preparation. (more…)

July 15 2014

Wake Up from the Social Analytics Nightmare: Top 5 Suggestions

Recently I read an article about the 20 Reasons Why Social Analytics Is A Nightmare – And What To Do About It. The article’s author, Kohki Yamaguchi, says there remains a mountain of challenges around building a solid social analytics practice. While I don’t disagree with this statement, I know that monitoring online customer feedback with a social intelligence tool can bypass some of the “nightmares” associated with analyzing customer data. (more…)

July 14 2014

7 Ways to Prevent Your Customers from Leaving

LoyaltyAre you noticing the sound of crickets in your business? Where’s all the foot traffic? Are consumers who used to be your biggest fans ignoring your social media posts? We have seven suggestions to stop customers from jumping ship.

1. Improve your customer service. (more…)

July 10 2014

6 Reasons Why Brands Replaced Mystery Shops With Real Customer Feedback – PART 1

Experience is everything in the restaurant business. But how companies receive valuable insight into what their customers think and feel has evolved past the shadowy work of mystery shoppers getting paid to eat a free meal, to using the thousands of real-life customer reviews from social networking and review sites.

Here are six reasons why the best restaurant brands have replaced mystery “shops” with an online reputation management tool. What do they know about the voice of the customer that you don’t? Keep reading to find out.  (more…)

July 3 2014

Challenge the Social Intelligence Status Quo: newBrandAnalytics Announces Pulse

Has anyone ever come into your office asking for details on the latest topic that when viral and you have no idea what they’re talking about? Marketers need advanced social listening software that makes it easier to gather individual comments and conversations, as well as understand trends and react in real-time.

productteamListening to feedback from our clients, we created nBA Pulse to give companies real-time visibility into trending topics and conversations that impact their brand and product perception. There are simply holes in the offerings of first generation social listening tools that we fill. Top companies like David’s Bridal, DICK’s Sporting Goods and Subway have already ditched those brand monitoring platforms to keep a better Pulse on what customers are saying on social. (more…)

June 18 2014

Top 10 Takeaways from the Corporate Social Media Summit

Photo by @oh_rosheen

The Corporate Social Media Summit took place in New York this week. There were numerous amazing speakers that shared real-world, in-the-trenches stories, advice and tactics. Since there was so much to absorb over the course of two days, I wanted to share a few of my takeaways in case you missed it, or want to look back and remember all the things you learned (then maybe forgot)!

Social needs to make sense for the business.

This seems like an obvious takeaway, but still an important one. Many brands rush into social without a plan of attack, without understanding why or what, or because their competitors are doing it. You need to listen to the conversations happening on social—which one might argue there isn’t enough of—but before you jump in to engaging online, what are your business goals? Matthew Eby (@matthewaeby), Vice President, Marketing, Digital Division at The Weather Company, said outright that engagement isn’t a key focus for them. Their main goal is to drive traffic back to their sites because that’s how they make money. Which leads into our next takeaway…


June 9 2014

NRN Webinar Follow Up: Gauging Your Social Media Maturity Q&A

We recently hosted a webinar, Gauging your Social Media Maturity & Why it Matter$, with Nation’s Restaurant News. Joshua Levine, Director of Operations for STARR Restaurants, and Sepanta Bagherpour, Director of Marketing for Nando’s Peri-Peri USA, joined newBrandAnalytics Co-Founder Ashish Gambhir to discuss the three phases of social media maturity and benefits of listening to online customer feedback.

We’ve compiled all the questions that were asked during the webinar below. If you’d like to watch the webinar, you can access the on-demand webinar at any time here. (more…)

June 3 2014

Beyond Loyalty Programs: How Hyatt, Marriott, and Hilton Create Loyalty with Social Media

We’ve told you before about how to use social media to get more guests into your hotel. But, how do you create the loyalty that keeps them coming back? Industry leaders like Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt use social media to make the entire stay more seamless and inspire guests to share their experiences online. These programs foster guest satisfaction as well as help these big brands with online reputation management. And, the best part is, that these tactics aren’t only meant for large hotel chains. Hotels of all sizes can employ the same techniques to foster customer loyalty and create social media success stories. (more…)

May 27 2014

newBrandAnalytics Mentioned in Top Technology Trends in Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers and Shakers

Every year, Fast Casual online magazine creates a top list of restaurants in the fast casual segment that are making waves and then selects a winner. The winner is chosen based on several categories, including innovation, unit and revenue growth, use of technology and social media, branding and marketing and overall contribution to the industry. The Fast Causal Top 100 also calls out the best restaurant marketing campaigns, menu trends, and, something that is especially close to newBrandAnalytics, technologies. Here are the top three technology trends, according to Fast Casual:

1. Mobile Apps

We previously spoke about the importance of making your restaurant mobile ready. Mobile is becoming a larger part of the restaurant industry, especially the fast casual segment, in terms of mobile ordering and payment. There is nothing that today’s customer wants more than ease and convenience, two things that mobile is providing. Additionally, mobile apps are allowing restaurants to promote specials in the form of rewards to increase loyalty.

2. Social Media Analytics

According to Fast Casual, “tracking customer analytics via social media is helping fast casual operators target their customers.” Five Guys Burgers and Fries, a newBrandAnalytics’ customer, was profiled as a company having great success with social media analytics. Molly Catalano, Director of PR at Five Guys, told Fast Casual that they’re using social media analytics to monitor social media chatter to help the company implement operational changes, specifically the introduction of a “Little Fry” to their menu.

“With newBrandAnalytics’ insight, we could see that the desire for a small fry was spread widely across many markets and demographics, so we decided to test what we call the ‘Little Fry’ in a variety of markets. The test went really well and, as a result, we rolled out the ‘Little Fry’ systemwide. We have actually gotten nothing but positive feedback from our customers.”

3. Using Social and Mobile for Training

Employee training is one of the most critical aspects of owning a successful restaurant. With the introduction of social media and mobile, that task has become easier. You can now use social and mobile to reduce training costs and revise scheduling. Read these 5 steps on how to use social media for employee training.

Technology is quickly changing the way that restaurants function and communicate with their customers. To learn more about how Five Guys Burgers and Fries used newBrandAnalytics to determine the ROI of operational changes, watch this video. Read the entire Fast Casual Top 100 Movers and Shakers here.


May 20 2014

Highlights from the 2014 National Restaurant Association Show

My team and I were fortunate enough to spend this past weekend in Chicago for the 2014 NRA show. One of my favorite education sessions from the show was “Marketing Strategies for your Restaurant Brand” with three familiar faces from NRA’s Marketing Executive Group (MEG) – Rachel Phillips-Luther of Zoe’s Kitchen, Chris Tomasso of First Watch Restaurants and Stacey Kane from AmRest. The panel discussed strategies and tactics they use to see ROI from social media and customer reviews. For those who may have missed the session, here are the top takeaways:

National Restaurant Association

Don’t Market into Weak Operations

Chris warned restaurant marketers to stop driving traffic to failing locations. Customers make their decision about your brand based on their experience at the first location they try. So why would you promote a probable bad customer experience? Make the locations earn marketing dollars by asking the managers and franchisers to display their customer experience social scores every quarter.

Social is Not a Strategy

Stacey and Rachel were in agreement that social is not a strategy in itself; it’s a conduit for more and better storytelling. Without brand specific content, you may How to Apologize on Social Mediaas well not even use social. Be authentic to your concept’s brand voice with your social engagement, and be as personable as possible with your apologies and offers. newBrandAnalytics has helped customers improve their social media engagement with its How to Apologize eBook, which you can read here.

Engage with Reviewers

Chris puts a lot of emphasis on the complete guest experience. “I want that customer, and any potential customer who happens to read our public comments on social, to think that this is a restaurant who cares.” As such, they have someone dedicated to responding to good and bad customer experience comments on social. Chris also left the group with this extra tip: when responding via your engagement tool, make sure to include relevant key phrases such as “best brunch”, “kid friendly”, or any competitor brand names you’d like to be associated with in the site’s search functionality.

Leverage your Yelp Elite Community Manager

Stacey noted that after AmRest opened a new La Tagliatella location outside of Washington, DC, initial reviews were somewhat negative. They took note of any social media insights that highlighted issues that operations could easily address. From the marketing perspective, they worked with DC’s Yelp Community Manager to coordinate a special make-your-own-pizza event to win back over the Yelp Elite in order to drive new faces into the location. Plus, they began offering free pitchers of sangria to Yelpers. “Yes, it can be annoying, but treat social reviews on Yelp like a game,” said Kane.

Track your social score on a location-by-location level

It’s impossible to understand your restaurant chain’s brand health if you don’t look at your social scores at the location level. According to Rachel, “Your brand is at risk unless you can predict how you’re faring overall with a dashboard tool to determine what your customers are saying about you on social sites such as Yelp and Twitter.” This is one of the ways newBrandAnalytics helps Rachel, and many other restaurant chains, with easy to digest social media analysis at the location level and all the way up to the brand level.

Trial, average check size and frequency

All three panelists reminded the audience that these are the main three ways you can drive more sales, anything else is just a tactic under these strategies. All three can be accomplished if you truly know what your customers demand from you now in their own words, and to know that, you have to be engaging and listening to local customers across social and review sites. Chris said that truly knowing the customer is something that the retail and hospitality industries are doing well because they are utilizing the technology out there.

I’m always happy to learn about how newBrandAnalytics clients are successfully leveraging social media! If you’d like to learn more about how our software can help you see similar success, request a personalized demo today!

May 1 2014

Infographic: The Year of Customer Experience

As social platforms grow and expand in 2014, so does the amount that customers are saying and sharing on social media. 2014 is undeniably the year of the customer experience and this is all supplemented by social media. In this infographic we’ll discuss why now is the time to utilize social intelligence to perfect the customer experience and how you can take action.


Customer Service Infographic

April 29 2014

A Sign of the Times: Don’t Get Even with Yelpers, Listen to Them

Negative Yelp ReviewEver seen signs like this outside of a restaurant? A Yelp reviewer leaves an extremely negative review about a dish they tried on a recent visit and the restaurateur tries to laugh off the commentary by making it a punch line.  And while this makes lemonade out of lemons and may get a laugh or two from passersby, it doesn’t take full advantage of the benefits of social intelligence.

On average restaurant operators can find two to five useable insights per online review, including 140-character tweets. It’s rare for a customer-authored review on Yelp not to mention at least one positive or helpful bit of information, even if the overall star rating was low. Reading between the lines of social reviews has helped numerous organizations tweak recipes, service and staffing, menu options, seating arrangements, and even the type of music that’s played, just to name a few examples.

When we see chalkboard signs like this, we wonder how that restaurant handled the engagement with that customer online. Did they write back publicly and apologize for the lackluster experience and seek more information? Did they do nothing, or worse still, did they respond in a sarcastic way?

After examining the social data for more than 150,000 businesses, our research proves people value good service most. More than the food and more than the happy hour specials, it’s the service before, during and after the customer’s experience that drives loyalty.Yelp Reviews

Now is the time to develop a winning strategy for handling negative reviews on social and review sites, because the number of customers sharing information about their experiences is increasing, with a astounding 58 percent of consumers stating they share their experiences online. That same study by Dimensional Research also states that 86 percent of consumers said their buying decisions are influenced by negative online reviews. That means online feedback controls your brand’s success, no matter much you spend on traditional marketing.

Here’s the good news: responding to customers publicly on Yelp in the right way could sway their opinion; in fact 34 percent of customers delete their original negative review after being engaged in a positive way by the brand. Plus, when others see a fair and reasonable response from the management, they’re more likely to try your establishment out. So take this as a sign, and if you need help, download our free How to Apologize eBook here.

April 25 2014

Customers Always Remember Your Name

Not only is the customer always right but the customer always remembers your name and the names of your employees. We’ve all seen Mrs. Twiddles peer over her spectacles at the chest of a friendly and helpful waiter (“Why, thank you, James!”).  And we’ve apologized profusely to Mr. Tightman when his order was incorrect (“Sara was the worst waitress ever!”).  Of course, we’ve also received the emails, the phone calls, and the survey responses, alternatively praising or deriding staff performance. But it’s not just private emails or phone calls anymore. Now, your customers look at those name tags, walk away with their smart phones and start tapping away for all the world to see on social media.  So how can you use the information shared on social media to help motivate your staff?

Here are a few best practices used by leading restaurants: How to fix bad service

1)     Make Social a part of every pre-shift discussion:  Every department head should have access to social intelligence data about their area of responsibility and should share highlights of praise or issues that have surfaced in the last 24 hours from customers.

2)     Run a contest to motivate your staff:  Consider different incentives for your servers, hostesses, and kitchen staff. Encourage staff to greet customers immediately when they enter, make a personal connection, and invite customers to talk about a good experience online.  You can then run a monthly competition that measures the most positive online staff reviews, and recognize the winner accordingly.

3)     Use negative mentions to identify training or scheduling opportunities:  Obviously, when a customer mentions a team member negatively, you’ll need to take corrective action.  However, look for broader trends that may signal a need for better or different training. Alternatively, negative mentions may actually point to poor scheduling and the need to beef up staff and peak periods. Social media analytics will show you all you need to know.

Ironically, however, restauranteurs are often surprised to realize how often their staff members are cited by name in online reviews. We see it every day and now is the time for you to take advantage of that data to improve. How are you motivating your staff based on positive name recognition? We’d love to hear your ideas below.

Also, for those times that the customer does leave a terrible review on social media here is The Complete Guide To Apologizing on Social Media.