Mid-June is prime “dads and grads” season, when restaurants typically make tie-ins to Father’s Day and the end of the school year, but the brands that climbed up the NRN Social 200 index the fastest during the second week in June focused more on general summertime themes or brand-specific anniversaries.

The NRN Social 200 is an index that monitors and measures the social media success of the Top 200 largest restaurant brands, based on Nation’s Restaurant News’ annual census of brand U.S. sales. NRN has partnered with social media tracking and analysis firm TrackingSocial to create the index, which explores the engagement level and relationship between the largest restaurant brands and their social media audiences on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

In the latest capsule of some of the index’s biggest gainers, tracking growth from June 8-14, Papa Murphy’s retains the top spot for another week, while Old Chicago benefits from promoting its efforts to build Colorado’s biggest pizza and its ongoing World Beer Tour events. Krispy Kreme and Marie Callender’s also leveraged brand anniversaries to great effect.

1. Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza
Weekly percent change: +54.8%
Index score: 11.32



Papa Murphy’s followed up its performance as the top-gaining brand in last week’s Social 200 recap with more Facebook posts about its Take ‘N’ Grill Sweepstakes. A post announcing the first weekly winner in the contest spurred several hundred likes, and a photo shared by one fan who likes to grill up to five take-and-bake pizzas at once garnered nearly 1,000 likes.

2. Old Chicago
Weekly percent change: +33.9%
Index score: 4.79

Casual-dining chain Old Chicago, whose primary engagement medium is Facebook, kept busy in the past week by promoting its record-breaking five-foot pizza, the largest pizza in the state of Colorado. Fans not only liked the picture of the finished product, but also a Vine video documenting the process of making and baking a colossal pizza. The brand also activated fan interaction through an event for America’s Mini Tour, a sampling event at its restaurants.

3. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
Weekly percent change: +18.2%
Index score: 37.15



Coffee and doughnut chain Krispy Kreme created a lot of buzz this week, primarily on Facebook, with news of its 76th anniversary offer. On July 13, the brand sold a second dozen doughnuts for 76 cents with the purchase of a dozen at full price. The brand created an event on Facebook for the promo, but regular Facebook posts about the offer and with slick food shots got far more likes, comments and shares. While Krispy Kreme did not specifically address its 76th anniversary promotion on Twitter, it was nonetheless active on that platform, especially with retweeting positive sentiments from fans several times each day. Often, those fan tweets contained pictures of the brand’s doughnuts.

4. Marie Callender’s
Weekly percent change: +17.3%
Index score: 5.29

Momentum for the brand’s 65th anniversary celebration continued on Facebook, where new posts included a new food shot of Marie Callender’s Celebration Cake Pie, as well as an old black-and-white photo of the Quonset hut where Callender first started selling pies in 1948.

5. CiCi’s Pizza
Weekly percent change: +16.7%
Index score: 17.71

Pizza-buffet chain CiCi’s Pizza’s social-media engagement comes chiefly from its Facebook page, where in the past week the brand’s one post has advertised its Pizza Perks e-club. The brand’s customers take to CiCi’s page often, as during the past seven-day period from June 8-14, when the chain received an average of eight fan posts per day.

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