A Look at the Industry: Social Restaurant Visits Drop, Consumers Give Chipotle a Second Chance

On this episode of "On Foodable Weekly," we’re not only taking a look at the industry after the end of January through Foodable Labs, but we’re also dissecting some long-term trends that we will continue to see throughout 2017.

Social restaurant visits (SRVs), or restaurant visits that include some type of social media interaction, have actually seen a drop in social interactions for the first time in these past few months. Currently, we are still showing an upward trend. We keep a close eye on SRVs, because when consumers have online discussions about dining out, those social media discussions are indicative of restaurant performance.

Looking back at December, Veggie Grill, Mod Market, and honeygrow showed the most SRV growth at the end of 2016. There is often a lot of movement in that top 10 SRV list and January was no exception, showing a shake-up in the top brands. Shake Shack made their move back to No. 1, followed by Dig Inn, and Paris Baguette, a newcomer to the top three.

Starbucks also showed up in the top 10 in January. However, some other major brands that usually rank high were missing from January’s top 10 list, such as Arby’s, Jersey Mike’s, McDonald's, and Sonic Drive-In.

Industry-wide, January marks the first time we’ve seen a downturn in SRVs. Though the winter months do normally show a slow in SRVs in part due to the holidays, we will need to keep an eye on this.

Second Chance for Chipotle?

Chipotle had it rough last year. Focusing on their consumer sentiment, Chipotle showed a drop in December, but just this month, Chipotle’s social sentiment jumped up. This could possibly be consumers giving Chipotle a second chance. Chipotle is also showing a slight positive growth in SRVs, and though small, these growths in SRV may not be an anomaly. We will continue to keep an eye out for continued growth.

Keep watching "On Foodable Weekly" to stay up-to-date with how the industry is faring here on Foodable Network.