February 26, 2013

Social media plays a major role in restaurant marketing these days, and many Mexican restaurants do it well. At el Restaurante Mexicano, we are working on a nationwide study of Mexican restaurant Internet marketing practices. Our study is examining social media and web sites of Mexican restaurants in five metropolitan areas. Two have already been completed -- Chicago and Miami.

The data from those two cities has not been fully analyzed yet, but some interesting facts that have emerged are that Twitter plays an important role in their marketing -- of the 40 restaurants we examined, 23 have Twitter accounts. The Mexican restaurants in Miami are a little more hip to Twitter than their Chicago counterparts -- 13 Miami restaurants use Twitter, compared to 10 in Chicago. However, the Chicago restaurants with Twitter accounts tend to have more followers. In fact, the restaurant with the most followers -- 281,383 in late January -- is Frontera Grill in Chicago, one of Rick Bayless' restaurants.

Yelp may be the most important social media site for restaurant marketing, probably because consumers feel the reviews on Yelp are generally honest. Every restaurant in our study so far has claimed its Yelp account (Yelp establishes an account for every business; when a business "claims" its account, it can add marketing information). Restaurants in Chicago fared a little better on Yelp than Miami restaurants -- Chicago restaurants earned an average of 3.675 stars, compared to 3.425 stars for Miami restaurants.

There is a lot more data to be mined from our study -- including details from three more metropolitan areas -- so stay tuned for more information.

February 26, 2013