Several brands that scored a top-five weekly gain in the NRN Social 200 Index during the month of August — including Così, Buca di Beppo and Noodles & Company — placed in the top five again the fourth week of August by sticking with effective strategies.


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The NRN Social 200


While those restaurant companies kept their momentum in social engagement going, two new entrants to the five highest weekly gainers emerged in the period from Aug. 17-23: Togo’s Eatery and Caribou Coffee. While Togo’s got credit from social media fans for trying out some new tactics on its Facebook page, Caribou received its spike in Facebook and Twitter activity for tying the two platforms together to promote its popular pumpkin limited-time offers for autumn. Judging from fans’ pent-up demand for pumpkin in Caribou’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, the coffeehouse chain also leveraged a strategy from the menu proven to work, but with the right execution across its social platforms.

1. Così
Weekly percent change: +29.6%
Index score: 6.06

Cosi

Fast-casual sandwich chain Così scored its first major weekly gain in the NRN Social 200 during the second week of August, when the brand brought about a major uptick in engagement on Facebook by posting content more often. During the week of Aug. 17-23, Così once again benefited from following up a quiet period in social media with new content, seven pictures of its newly reopened unit in Columbus, Ohio. The brand shared the pictures on Aug. 17, the day of the reopening, and earned nearly 300 likes, 18 shares and more than 35 comments. The post followed eight days of no new content.

2. Buca di Beppo
Weekly percent change: +29.3%
Index score: 26.76

Buca di Beppo continued its summer of rapid growth in social engagement during the fourth week of August, thanks in part to the continued popularity of an Aug. 15 Facebook offer that landed the casual-dining chain the second-highest weekly increase in the third week of the month. The totals for the $15-off coupon rose from 77,000-plus redemptions and 18,700-plus likes to more than 86,600 redemptions and 20,180 likes in one week. The brand layered on still more value offerings through Facebook with a buy-one-get-one coupon for lunch redeemable Aug. 21-23, which was timed as a “back to school” special. That deal was not structured as a Facebook offer, so NRN could not report the number of redemptions. However, between a promotional post Wednesday and a matching one Friday, Buca received a combined 776 shares, nearly 2,000 likes and nearly 60 comments.

3. Togo’s Eatery
Weekly percent change: +28.9%
Index score: 6.76

West Coast sandwich chain Togo’s derives the majority of its social engagement through Facebook as well. During the fourth week of August it used several types of Facebook posts to get more likes, comments and shares off a relatively small base for each metric. The brand’s most-liked post was a picture to celebrate three crew members winning $1,000 grants from the Togo’s Education Fund. Its new Facebook promotion to inspire more comments on the Facebook page, “Q&A with Togo’s Logo,” appeared to work in its first attempt. The post inviting fans to comment with their question for the Togo’s Logo character got 13 responses, compared with its typical Facebook posts that usually only garner a handful of comments. Togo’s made a video of the logo character’s response to his favorite question and posted it Friday.

Noodles & Company and Caribou Coffee

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4. Noodles & Company
Weekly percent change: +11.5%
Index score: 11.85

Noodles & Company

As it did the week before, Noodles & Company drove a large gain in its NRN Social 200 index score with steady Facebook posting, usually of professional food photography for its menu items. During the fourth week of August, the picture of its Steak and Egg Noodles in Sherry Cream Sauce proved most popular, with 274 likes and 16 shares. A photo of the Garden Pesto Saute also received more than 100 likes, as did a restaurant interior shot to tout free Wi-Fi in many Noodles locations.

5. Caribou Coffee
Weekly percent change: +10.2%
Index score: 17.01

Caribou Coffee

Coffeehouse chain Caribou Coffee spent the fourth week of August gearing up for pumpkin season and getting its fans excited for popular limited-time offers built around the fall flavor. The cohesive campaign played out on Facebook and Twitter, which both contribute heavily to Caribou’s overall score. A photo of Caribou’s pumpkin lineup on Aug. 18 teasing the return of the flavor caused a spike in engagement across both platforms, earning nearly 3,500 Facebook likes and nearly 540 shares, as well as more than 100 retweets and more than 60 favorites. The brand also brought about even more engagement in some text-only posts and tweets, such as the tweet, “Pumpkin is back,” which received more than 175 retweets and more than 100 favorites. A “Like if you’re glad pumpkin is back” Facebook post drove more than 4,400 likes and more than 125 comments without a picture.

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN