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3. Eat’n Park
Weekly percent change: +13.3%
Index score: 10.33

Though family-dining chain Eat’n Park is one of the few foodservice brands to derive the majority of its Social 200 index score from YouTube, a Sept. 4 Facebook post celebrating the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team was the largest influencer of the chain’s double-digit gain for the first week of September.

The simple picture tied in several large brand equities Eat’n Park has cultivated for decades, including its signature Smiley Cookies, which made the two zeroes in “.500,” a major statistical milestone for Pirates fans. The Major League team ended a streak of 20 straight losing seasons this year with a win on Sept. 4 that ensured the club would finish with a winning percentage of at least .500.

The post earned more than 520 likes and nearly 200 shares from fans around Pittsburgh, where Eat’n Park has most of its locations. The chain also began selling a “Bury the Streak Gift Box,” in which Smiley Cookies were sold in a plastic coffin.

4. Firehouse Subs
Weekly percent change: +10.1%
Index score: 20.47

Firehouse Subs also has a balanced social-media strategy, with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube interactions all contributing to its Social 200 index score. A “Test Kitchen Question” Facebook post garnered 625 responses, while its most-liked post was a reminder about free birthday subs in any Firehouse Restaurant.

On its YouTube channel, a trailer for its campy, fan-written “Return to Pork & Slaw Island” movie to promote the King’s Hawaiian Pork & Slaw Sandwich, has been running the past few weeks.

5. Carvel Ice Cream
Weekly percent change: +8.1%
Index score: 6.62

During the first week of September, Carvel Ice Cream brought about its first significant gain in Facebook engagement with a food shot of three new Sundae Dashers, made with Heath Bars, Oreos or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The brand is most active on Facebook with a diverse posting strategy of food shots, humor and special offers, but the food shot for this limited-time offer drove the most engagement, with nearly 150 likes and nearly 30 shares.

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