Current High-Flyers in the Restaurant Industry 

On this episode of “On Foodable Weekly,” host Paul Barron, discusses the current state of the restaurant industry. We discuss the restaurants that have grown the most in the past month and what that means for the industry as a whole. We will also look at Jersey Mike’s brand performance and its biggest competitor: Arby’s.

According to Foodable Labs, the restaurant industry is showing continued growth. This growth is illustrated through the analysis of real-time data pulled from social media platforms. One of the big indicators of restaurant industry health is SRV or Social Restaurant visits.  This could be when a customer mentions, takes a picture, or performs a "check in" on social media referencing a restaurant’s location either in the post or it's recorded in the geo-metadata. Foodable Labs has added another measurement known as Facebook and Twitter Combined Industry Visibility.

Are people talking about going out to eat and are they engaging with top brands? Currently, there is almost a 30% increase in total industry visibility.

Looking back at June 2016, the industry experienced the lowest number of interactions of the year up to date with numbers of interactions at 54 million and the number of unique users at 31 million. But, September showed continuous growth in the industry with interaction figures reaching 70 million and unique users reaching 40 million.

Growth within the Industry

Restaurants showing notable SRV growth from September to August 2016 include:

  • Freshii - remains in the #1 spot with 8.12% SRV growth
  • Arby’s - experienced an increase of SRVs helping the brand stay at the #3 spot with  a 6.41% increase
  • Mendocino Farms - a new entry into the Top 10 at the #4 spot with a 5.55% increase in growth
  • Honeygrow - coming in at the #7 spot with a 5.02% increase in SRV growth
  • Panera - 4.57% increase month over month. “For a brand their size, that’s a pretty significant number,” said Paul Barron.

An important takeaway from this data is total SRVs for the industry jumped up in August and again in September by 2 million.

Jersey Mike's vs Arby's

Jersey Mike's has been on a terror for the last 3 quarters. They have experienced a 34 point rise in Foodable Lab’s overall RSMI. This is a pretty significant jump from being ranked at #18 to their current ranking at #12.

“They are really on a collision course. An article that was done by Bloomberg, just recently, actually picked Jersey Mike’s out as one of the fastest-growing restaurants and the potential sandwich chain that was remaking the segment, much like what fast casual has done in the burger business, Jersey Mike’s could be the forerunner on the sandwich segment.”

In the Jersey Mike’s versus Arby’s head to head comparison, here’s what we saw:

  • Jersey Mike’s shares 28.4% of Arby’s guests; and
  • They also scored the higher than Arby’s on Mobile Engagement
  • In turn, Arby’s has had a 25 point rise year-to-date; and
  • Arby’s made it into the Top 10 brands with an increase in SRV’s for the month of September

Watch the full episode to learn more!

Is Buffalo Wild Wings on the Verge of a Same-Store Sales Recovery for the Third Quarter?

Is Buffalo Wild Wings on the Verge of a Same-Store Sales Recovery for the Third Quarter?

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large

The sport-themed casual dining chain, Buffalo Wild Wings has repeatedly landed in our top 10 Most Loved Brand list, a ranking determined from positive consumer sentiment data pulled from the Restaurant Social Media Index. 

In the most recent ranking for the Q2 of this year, BWW lands at no.4 with an impressive increase from the first quarter.

But in the first quarter of the year, the brand announced that for the first time in six years it experienced a decline in same-store sales. Specifically, the same-store sales declined by 1.7% at corporate-owned locations and 2.4% at franchised restaurants– compared to the same period the year prior. Then in the second quarter, the brand saw another decrease- with a 2.1% drop in company-owned restaurants and 2.6% in franchised stores. 

Previously, when we have seen a major increase in the sentiment score, it will take 30-90 days for this to reflect on the brand’s sales. So although, BWW just had a rough quarter it looks like they are on the road to bouncing back. According to the Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI,) the brand had a 5.44 increase in sentiment score from Q1 to Q2. 

“The RSMI has evolved into a leading indicator or predictive social engine for foodservice brands. Measuring sentiment has been one of the most effective ways to determine when, a brand’s sales could decline. The impact on brands is often 30-90 days after we see sentiment dips or spikes that are significant in the 2-4 point plus range in a month,” said Paul Barron, founder of the RSMI.

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Watch out Chipotle, the Competition in the Fresh Mex Segment is Heatin’ up

Watch out Chipotle, the Competition in the Fresh Mex Segment is Heatin’ up

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large 

There are been several recent developments in the “fresh mex” sector of fact casual– including Chipotle’s food safety crisis, Rubio’s expansion to the east coast and Moe’s Southwest Grill being named the Mexican fast casual “brand of the year” in the Harris Poll.

Before November of last year, Chipotle was always leading the pack. Fast forward to today, the brand that boasts “food with integrity” is still struggling to return to where it was before the food safety media frenzy caused sales to slump.

With that in mind, other “fresh mex” restaurants now have a competitive advantage and are gaining momentum in the market.

Through Foodable Labs and data pulled from the Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI,) a proprietary system of our sister company DigitalCoCo– we track over 151 million US social restaurant consumers across 17 social platforms. With over 21k restaurant brands indexed, Foodable has its pulse on what consumers really think about these brands.  

To see what “fresh mex” restaurants consumers are gravitating to we focused primarily on the Sentiment category. The multi-variant sentiment is based on a variety of terms and locations relative to food, service, and overall Brand Experience, providing a much more accurate consumer sentiment score than any other system in the market. The score is based on a hundred-point scale. To put it simply, we have determined which “fresh mex” brands consumers loved the most in the second quarter of 2016.

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Chick-fil-A Takes No. 1 in Foodable Labs' Q2 National Top Restaurant Brands

Chick-fil-A Takes No. 1 in Foodable Labs' Q2 National Top Restaurant Brands

As we reported last week, the Q2 rankings for Foodable Labs' Top National Brands are in!

Last quarter, Panera Bread took No. 1. In Q2, the artificial-ban brand falls to No. 4, and is replaced by Chick-fil-A. Check out the Top 10 list below, where we also dive deeper into the Top 3. What caused the chicken chain to be on top? And what other players have entered the national field of top brands?

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