In one of yesterday’s posts, I described the results of a Verve study that shows how quick-serve and fast-casual restaurants are driving higher sales with the use of location-based mobile campaigns. Another study, from the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University, shows restaurantwaiterthat more restaurants are also benefiting from their social media use.

The Cornell study reveals that larger restaurants, those with 200+ seats, are most apt to use social media (81%). The study also highlighted the correlation between social media use by restaurants and target audience demographics. For example, the rate was highest (41%) for operators trying to reach married consumers and consumers between the ages of 30 and 39 (45%). In addition, it seems that chain restaurants (59%) are not as likely to use social media as independent operators (71%).

Restaurants, like most other businesses, have little trouble calculating the costs associated with social media. But measuring benefits is more difficult.  Operators that participate in social media say they’ve noticed definite increases in key performance indicators as follows:

  • Current customer loyalty 28.6%
  • New customers 28.1%
  • Revenues 31.6%

Will more restaurants turn to social media in the near future? The answer to this question may come down to operator ability to measure the impact of social media on operations. Suggested ways to measure results would be to track new customers who come to the restaurant specifically through social media, release unique coupons through social media and measure redemption, or count the increased visits from existing customers.

If you’re working with a restaurant to develop social media, have you found unique ways to build personal connections with customers while also measuring the benefits of the format?