And the Winners of the 2014 RIZMY Awards are...

Which brands came out on top this year? They were finally announced yesterday during the 2nd Annual Restaurant Social Media Index Awards ceremony, sponsored by SinglePlatform at the FSTEC NexGen conference in New Orleans. 

To refresh your memory the RIZMYs are not hand-selected. Instead, they are measured by DigitalCoCo’s proprietary Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI), the largest collaborative resource of restaurant industry data in the world. Only the brands with the highest social scores were selected as the winners. 

This year's 10 categories were arranged in groupings. The first being the brand segmented awards, including the QSR Digital Brand of the Year, Fast Casual Digital Brand of the Year, Casual Dining Digital Brand of the Year, and Independent Digital Brand of the Year. The second were the specialty categories, including the Overall Brand in Mobile, Most Loved Brand, Most Influential Brand, and Location-Based Brand, all of which are returning categories from last year. The final categories are based on performance factors, including the awards for Digital Innovator of the Year and Digital Executive Team of the Year. 

All of the 2014 RIZMYs Finalists

All of the 2014 RIZMYs Finalists

So without further ado– DigitalCoCo is proud to announce this year's RIZMY Awards Winners

And the QSR Digital Brand of the Year is... Sonic DriveIn!

After arriving to the social party a little late in 2012-2013, they are certainly making up for lost time! Sonic was a finalist last year, but did not receive a title. However, this favored by millennials brand, won the Digital Brand of the Year in the QSR segment. 

And the Fast Casual Digital Brand of the Year is... Shake Shack!

This fast casual brand returns as a victor this year. Shake Shack was awarded the Most Loved Brand of the Year, last year. This brand is part of the Better Burger segment and is engaging consumers with social to compete with the crowded segment filled with burger joints. 

And the Casual Dining Digital Brand of the Year is... Hard Rock Cafe!

This rather recognizable name did not appear on the finalists last year. This casual dining restaurant has upped the ante in the social space– landing this year's top Casual Dining Digital Brand.

And the Independent Digital Brand of the Year is... AJ Bombers!

This fast casual brand is part of the independent burger boom. Returning from last year, this small operator owned burger joint is taking average of the burger boom, by using social media and is keeping up with the restaurant moguls. 

And the Overall Mobile Brand is...Rubio's!

The fast casual success, Rubio's is spreading all over the West coast. Appearing on the RIZMYs finalists list for the first time this year, the brand lands the Overall Mobile Brand award. 

And both the Overall Most Loved Brand & Digital Executive Team of the Year goes to... Buffalo Wild Wings!

BWW has risen faster than any other brand in platform effectiveness in the past year. After just being a nominee for a RIZMY last year, BWW returns this year for two major wins as the Overall Most Loved Brand and the Digital Executive Team of the Year.

And the Overall Most Influential Brand is...Taco Bell!

After winning two awards last year, The Digital Innovator of the Year and Overall Brand of the Year, this QSR mogul returns this year to win the Overall Most Influential Brand. 

And both the Overall Location-Based Brand & Digital Innovator of the Year goes to... Firehouse Subs!

This leader of innovation social campaigns returns to collect two awards this year proving their skillful digital engagement. 

Congratulations to the winning brands for creating quite a social buzz, that deserves to be recognized! 

The RIZMY Wrap-Up: Which Brands Came Out On Top?

The RIZMY Wrap-Up: Which Brands Came Out On Top?

DigitalCoCo recently unveiled the winning brands at the First Annual RIZMY Awards at the premier Foodservice Digital Marketing Summit (FDMS), co-located with FSTEC NexGen in Phoenix. This is the first awards ceremony of its kind.

The RIZMYs applaud foodservice brands - both multi-unit and independent, ranging from QSRs to fine dining - that are rocking social and digital media. The eight awards include: Overall Brand of the Year, Most Loved Brand of the Year, Mobile Brand of the Year, Most Influential Brand of the Year, Location-Based Brand of the Year, Digital Executive of the Year, Digital Innovator of the Year, and Social Chef of the Year. 

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The Social Chef is More Than Just a Hashtag, It’s a Way of Business

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Between the biggest social platforms — Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube – chefs now have the ability to reach thousands of consumers at one time, in one place. Some chefs share relevant food articles, some Instagram their succulent dishes (#foodporn), and others use their social platforms to unveil daily specials. The best social chefs do all of the above and more. They seek innovation to promote their work, and by doing so, create a brand for themselves. Needless to say, the Social Chef is a huge part of the foodservice industry for the New Age consumer.

To emphasize its importance, DigitalCoCo’s RIZMY Awards, which applauds the best brands rocking it on social and digital media, includes a Social Chef of the Year award in its eight award lineup. Winners, narrowed down from our original Top 20 nominees, were recently announced at the First Annual Foodservice Digital Marketing Summit. The three Social Chef of the Year finalists were each within less than a point of each other.  Read More

Top 20 Social Chef of the Year Nominees

Top 20 Social Chef of the Year Nominees

The Social Chef: An Appetizing Dish of Transparency

Chefs are no longer blurred faces masked behind counters, hidden in kitchens, with only plates of edible artistry to hint at their presence. Over the past decade, more chefs have become celebrities, thanks to TV outlets like Bravo’s Top Chef, Food Network’s Next Iron Chef, and a slew of cooking shows hosted by over-the-top personalities like Paula Deen and Rachel Ray. As a byproduct of such entertainment exposure, a greater percentage of the masses - both foodies and non-foodies alike - have become more in-tune to the overall dining experience, from conception to consumption. But forget television: Realistically, most chefs aren’t Food Network celebrities, and the typical life of a chef is far from glamorous. The big shift in today’s chef-consumer relationship lies in the transparency and accessibility of social and digital media channels - namely, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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Taco Bell Brings the Flavor to YouTube

Photo Credit: Nation's Restaurant News

Photo Credit: Nation's Restaurant News

Taco Bell has done it again! In preparation for the release of the brand's newest Doritos Locos Tacos flavor, Taco Bell asked YouTubers to create videos around the new menu item - and the response was amazing.  

The chain received 65 video submissions, 15 of which they chose to showcase (including this video of the mythical Taco Bell 3D printer).  What Taco Bell shows us is that it's not always about the brand - it's about the consumer and how the consumer relates to the brand.   

With Taco Bell's reputation for interactive campaigns, including this one, which recently took place in the Canadian market, it's no wonder Taco Bell tops the Restaurant Social Media Index and is nominated for several RIZMY Awards, including Brand of the Year. Read More