Restaurants may have enjoyed a day off work around Labor Day weekend, but restaurant brands kept busy the entire first week of September by posting content to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to stay top of mind with guests.

Many of the brands with the largest weekly gains in NRN’s Social 200 index score from Aug. 31 to Sept. 6 tried a broad, balanced approach to social marketing, whether by prolifically posting different kinds of content on a platform like Facebook or by staying active across all three networks.

Though diversified content was a theme among the week’s top gainers, in several cases, food shots stood out among fans and encouraged the most engagement. That was the case with Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, which had its first appearance on the Social 200’s weekly winners list in a big way. Firehouse Subs and Carvel Ice Cream were also weekly winners thanks to engaging food shots, though not for lack of mixing in other kinds of compelling content.

1. Red Robin Gourmet Burgers
Weekly percent change: +68.0%
Index score: 36.47



Casual-dining chain Red Robin Gourmet Burgers shows a balanced approach to its social media marketing, with its Facebook content leading the way for its Social 200 score but its Twitter and YouTube activity also contributing. The brand also varies its content from photos of its burgers and drinks to branding materials and philanthropic updates.

Tracking Facebook posts for the past several months, however, showed that Red Robin consistently gets the most social engagement for its menu items, rather than for some campaigns, like its recent tie-in with the movie, “The Wolverine.” During the first week of September, Red Robin picked up the frequency of its Facebook posting around food and beverage, getting above average likes and shares for posts about the Chili Chili Cheeseburger, the Oktoberfest Bürger and the Blue Moon Beer Shake. The chain’s concurrent tweets about the same menu items, branded with a “#MillionReasons” hash tag, also encouraged a fair number of replies from followers eager to share how much they liked or desired each item.

2. Captain D’s Seafood Kitchen
Weekly percent change: +15.8%
Index score: 10.90



Fast-casual seafood chain Captain D’s gets the majority of its social media interaction from its Facebook page, where most of the recent content has been hooked to the $4.99 price point.

During the first few months of NRN’s coverage of the Social 200 index, price points have surfaced among the top weekly gainers, usually in the form of a discount offer or coupon rather than as a standard offer. However, Captain D’s has spent several weeks advertising its $4.99 Full Meal Deal combos on Facebook, both with a giveaway sweepstakes and a $4.99 Dare Days promotion. For the latter effort, Captain D’s has posed different challenges to Facebook fans to complete some task without spending more than $4.99, such as “Make a Coworker’s Day.” The chain tracks all participation in the promotion by having fans upload pictures of their handiwork to the brand Facebook wall, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest with the “#DareDays” hash tag.