SOURCE: Packaged Facts

Packaged Facts

February 08, 2011 11:34 ET

Facebook, Twitter, and Smartphones Lead Social Media-Fueled Innovation Within U.S. Foodservice

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - February 8, 2011) - Social networking sites and smartphone apps are changing the ways consumers interact with restaurants and with their fellow restaurant goers, creating exciting opportunities for foodservice operators and marketers, according to "Social Media and Technology in the U.S. Foodservice Industry: Trends and Opportunities for an Emerging Market" by Packaged Facts. Restaurants that create a presence on social media can generate brand awareness, promote upcoming events and limited time offers, engage with the customer base, recruit employees, and build brand-loyalty.

"We believe the restaurant industry is in the midst of being shaped by the convergence of the mobile, yet always connected, consumer; location-based and context-aware technological innovation, and mobile payments, which already demonstrate the potential to redefine how to cultivate restaurant guest loyalty, incentivize dining occasions, and better tailor marketing messages," says Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts.

Restaurant lifestyle engagement informs technology use, according to the report. For example, according to Packaged Facts' proprietary survey, 31% of adults who consider going out to restaurants as "part of their lifestyle" use their computer to place orders, while 21% use their cell phone or other portable device to do so.

Social media outlets Facebook and Twitter in particular are providing fertile opportunities for innovation. As Starbucks and Chipotle Mexican Grill have discovered, Facebook interaction offers tremendous potential for restaurant brands seeking consumer mind share; through well-timed and tailored online incentives, the brand can weave its way into consumers' lives, according to the report. And because Facebook users are also frequently on the go, the foodservice industry can use the site to ramp up location-based marketing. Packaged Facts expects such efforts to explode in 2011, as the industry increasingly uses social media to guide patrons to a particular restaurant while they are mobile and deciding where to eat.

Twitter offers restaurants a significant opportunity to reach a younger, more urban, multi-cultural audience, because Twitter usage is particularly popular within the Hispanic, African American, and Asian populations. And, according to the report, Twitter has proven itself to be critical in attracting followers -- and patrons -- to food trucks, an urban-based and exploding segment of the foodservice industry. Meanwhile, handheld devices and technology are allowing point of sale and in-restaurant tools to evolve and expand. Some of these devices streamline a customer's visit and maximize efficiency for the restaurant. Introducing such technologies may also reduce the instance of human error in order taking and bill calculations. Mobile phones are already ubiquitous, and Packaged Facts recommends that restaurants stay abreast of quickly emerging ways to tap into the restaurant guest early in the decision making process.

"Social Media and Technology in the U.S. Foodservice Industry: Trends and Opportunities for an Emerging Market" focuses on the quickly evolving social media and technology trends currently shaping the future of the restaurant industry. The report specifically assesses the impact of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as it relates to consumer-to-consumer interaction, consumer-to-business interaction, and the ramifications and opportunities for the restaurant industry. It also identifies and assesses emerging technologies and smartphone applications that Packaged Facts believes will help reshape the industry within just a few years. Emerging multi-concept ordering platforms, popular online consumer review platforms, and innovative food blogging & photography sites are also identified and assessed. For further information, please visit:

About Packaged Facts - Packaged Facts, a division of, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet products and services, and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services. To learn more, visit: Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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