The RB/FSTEC awards: digital all-stars

RB names industry’s best social media and tech innovators

Social media marketer of the year

Winner (large chains): Arby's

While some chains shy away from haters, Arby’s sees such disses as opportunities. Its banter with Jon Stewart is a prime example of turning lemons into lemonade (earning the brand an honorable mention for Best Single Post). And though it was a brand some recently saw as needing life support, it boldly turned to social media to help right the ship. Its tuned-in, fast-paced, authentic voice and enthusiastic use of food art resonated with our young testers. 

Winner (smaller chains): Whataburger

Despite a somewhat stodgy brick-and-mortar image, the chain’s online voice bridges the generation gap. Posts enlist on-trend terms and references without feeling like the uncool uncle, our millennial testers contend. In August, the chain scored points—and likes—by weighing in on the feud between rappers Drake and Meek Mill, prompting the former to show one of the brand’s tweets from the stage during his concert.


More awards
Best single social media post
Most surprising use of social media
Social media: most tantalizing food porn
Best social media event
Best app
Best project/team
Tech accelerator, full service
Tech accelerator, limited service
Tech accelerator, nontraditional

Today's top stories

1
Fast-casual Mexican chain Salsarita’s has named Ken Green its president and chief operating officer. In his new role, Green will focus on boosting profitability at Salsarita’s 80-plus units, he said...
2
Operators have much to learn from the innovative concepts coming to market. These new restaurants may be young, but they’re staying on top of today’s trends that are driving growth. These concepts...
3
The U.S. Department of Labor does specify how an unpaid internship can be legal , but most restaurant operations would either fail this test or have to significantly alter how they handle internships...
4
Dave Theno, one of the restaurant industry’s most prominent authorities on food safety, drowned Monday off the coast of Hawaii while swimming with his grandson, according to media reports . He was 66...
5
Sonic Drive-In plans to test a burger patty made with a blend of ground beef and mushrooms to reduce the meat content, a health initiative believed to be a first for a national quick-service chain...
6
In a move likely to intensify competition in the growing fun-and-food category, the private-equity firm L Catterton has invested in Punch Bowl Social, a six-unit contender. Terms were not disclosed,...
7
Paul Damico and Kat Cole have been shifted into new positions by Roark Capital and its Focus Brands holding for the rollout of Roark’s Naf Naf Grill fast-casual Middle Eastern concept. Damico has...
8
Sustainability has long been a trend influencing the industry, but it’s one that operators still need to consider today. Consumers are aware of what it means to eat sustainably—including using local...
9
Expect the unexpected—that’s the theme of the menu trends presentation during next month’s Restaurant Trends & Directions conference in Chicago. “The accelerated pace of demographic, cultural,...
10
In the struggle to pinpoint why restaurant traffic is falling, some Yoda types have cited increased competition from a gray area between restaurants and supermarkets—the place where alternatives like...