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Casual ‘Davids’ dominate in word of mouse

Need proof that dominance in social media isn’t (yet) a function of size? Look no further than Restaurant Business’ ranking of casual chains by success in that realm.

The leaders aren’t the sales Goliaths, but Buffalo Wild Wings and Hard Rock Café. Hooters is fifth, ahead of Chili’s and T.G.I. Friday’s.

Applebee’s is farther back, at Number 8. Red Lobster is Number 11. 

Our ranking was based largely on the following each chain has garnered on Twitter and Facebook, with weighted values given to how much chatter the brands generated in those channels.

Clearly Facebook is the medium of choice in the casual sector. BWW had about 4 million fans at the time we ranked it, and Hard Rock had about 2 million.

Olive Garden, Number 4 on the list, had just 629 Twitter followers at the time we compiled the data. Ruby Tuesday had 132.

The data was gathered as part of our Social Media 50 ranking of chains, restaurant chefs and independents by their social media success. In the process, we rated some 115 operators.

The list has since grown to about 145 parties, a result of our invitation for others in the industry to rate their Social Media Index by our calculator.

You can compute your score here.


Twitter followers
Total Twitter score
Facebook fans
Wall postings
Total Facebook score
Social media index
Buffalo Wild Wings1,857801,9373,863,092533,863,6223,865,559
Hard Rock Café23,181411123,6021,884,465131,884,5951,908,197
Outback Steakhouse4,516714,5871,040,092111,040,2021,044,789
Olive Garden629206491,031,5771021,032,5971,035,085
T.G.I. Friday's1,44427141,728519,16217519,332521,060
Ruby Tuesday13220152326,52815326,678326,830
Texas Roadhouse0000245,82411245,934245,934
Red Lobster2,3781102,488229,7067229,776232,264
Dave & Buster's9,824829,906203,7472203,787213,693
BJ's Restaurants4,841604,901169,0527169,122174,023
PF Chang's17,40314417,547128,1538128,233145,780
Longhorn Steakhouse000088,667988,75788,757


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