- Over half of Americans turned to friends and family for restaurant suggestions, while a third use review sites such as Yelp and only 10% turned to Instagram, according to SevenRooms’ Influence in the Restaurant Industry report. The study was conducted by YouGov.
- Thirty-five percent of Americans eat at a restaurant after they see it on social media, while 20% plan to do so in the future.
- Forty-one percent of consumers are less interested in restaurants that are difficult to book, and 51% say dining is a stand-out experience when a waiter remembers them from an earlier visit.
Though restaurants across the industry have been seeking out influencers to boost their marketing, this report suggests those efforts may be in vain — only 7% of Americans will order a dish recommended by an influencer on social media, according to SevenRooms.
Treating guests like VIPs will help snag more diners than offering exclusivity, according to SevenRooms. Twenty-four percent said they would avoid a restaurant if their experience didn't stand out.
"Operators should continue to focus on providing a tailored dining experience to every guest, understanding that their value does not stop when they leave the restaurant, but extends to who they will recommend that restaurant to post-visit," SevenRooms CEO and founder Joel Montaniel said in a press release.
Social media has transformed how restaurants market to and reach potential customers. Some restaurants are rethinking their interior design with better lighting and bright accents to allow customers to take better photos for social media. Though store remodels aren't cheap, this trend reflects millennial interest — according to research by Zizzi, 30% of diners in this age group avoid eateries with a sub-par Instagram presence.
Online reviews also have significant pull on consumers, with a third of potential diners skipping restaurants with a 3-star rating, and over half of consumers aged 18 to 34 will read online restaurant reviews before deciding on where to eat. Being responsive to guest comments also can benefit restaurants. Nearly 90% of diners would go to a business that responds to online reviews, according to a survey from Uberall.
Restaurants are the top industry to be impacted by negative reviews, according to Modern Restaurant Management. The number of stars a restaurant has on Yelp can impact a company’s bottom line. Adding a star to a restaurant's rating on the online review platform can boost its revenue by 5% to 9%.