The restaurant chains that showed the largest weekly growth in their NRN Social 200 index scores during the week beginning July 27 did so off smaller base scores, but nonetheless exemplified the importance of speaking to audiences in ways that provoke more responses and engagement.

For instance, the week’s top gainer, Charley’s Grilled Subs, told fans, “We just made your Monday,” when posting a professional food shot for its latest limited-time offer, which prompted one person to reply, “Really? I don’t see a coupon.” Two other chains, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Ponderosa Steakhouses, registered their biggest weekly gains in the Social 200 the first week of August by asking the right questions on their Facebook pages.

On the other hand, Church’s Chicken probably received more responses and comments in a negative light than it wanted during the period, but the quick-service brand responded quickly to several complaints in order to quell a few isolated misunderstandings before they became bigger controversies.

1. Charley’s Grilled Subs
Weekly percent change: +21.6%
Index score: 7.70



Columbus, Ohio-based Charley’s scored the week’s largest gain in Social 200 index scores by breaking out of the doldrums to promote its Smokehouse Bacon BBQ sandwich. By the time Charley’s changed its cover photo on Facebook to a food shot of the sandwich and pinned a promotional post to the top of its page on Monday, July 29, five days had gone by without the brand using the social network to post content for its fans. On Twitter, six days had passed before Charley’s posted something about the sandwich, which was a retweet of a news story about the Smokehouse Bacon BBQ’s introduction. The brand also is holding an online contest that allows its fans to vote for their favorite limited-time offer to bring back to the menu, but for the week, Facebook posts advertising the Smokehouse sandwich received the majority of likes, comments and shares.

2. Church’s Chicken
Weekly percent change: +17.4%
Index score: 8.46



Church’s Chicken planned its Facebook and Twitter content during the first week of August around a “Rock the AMAs” contest in partnership with Coca-Cola, which will award a trip for two to Los Angeles to attend the American Music Awards. In the first few days of promoting the contest, those Facebook posts had not engendered as many likes or shares as previous posts of food shots for Church’s signature menu items. The brand also had to devote resources to answering service complaints that customers posted to Church’s timeline, including several angry, all-caps posts from a woman claiming that her family was turned away from an Augusta, Ga., Church’s location because the manager mistakenly would not admit a service dog for the woman’s disabled child. Church’s and its franchisee in Augusta apologized to the family and said so on the Facebook page, but negative feedback from other Facebook users continued for a few days.