That, by the way, wouldn’t be Applebee’s, Chili’s, Red Lobster, T.G.I. Friday’s or any of the other casual-dining giants. To put it in perspective, Olive Garden has 195 followers; Ruby Tuesday, a mere 75, and the segment’s largest player, 1,000-plus-unit Applebee’s, just 145. The Twitter heartthrob of the sector, Maggiano's, might pick up that many followers in a month, with the tally currently standing at 11,522.
Before I explain what this is all about, savor one more bombshell discovery from a few hours spent trawling the Twitter-verse. The most popular individual tweeter in the restaurant industry, as determined by the number of followers, is celebrity chef Rick Bayless, with more than 60,000 followers, a quantum leap from peers in white like Thomas Keller (5,064 fans) and Emeril Lagasse (2,023).
But close on his heels is Paul Barron, the founder of FastCasual.com and a frequent speaker on the show circuit, with 52,308 followers. A hit TV show and winning a celebrity-studded, televised culinary competition are not among his list of accomplishments.
The other industry figures meriting a star on the Twitter Walk of Fame are the anonymous DenverChefDude, with 41,753 followers; consultant Jeffrey Summers, with 25,539; consultant Amanda Hite, a.k.a. SexyThinker, 21,000; Orrick Nepomuceno, the Denver-based headhunter, with 6,498 followers for his Orrickn identity; and Joni Doolin, the CEO of People Repor, with 6,021 fans for her postings as LuckyPenny.
So what’s this all about?
Everyone in the restaurant industry is talking about Twitter, but no one’s doing anything to measure it. So I decided last week to look at every industry tweeter that came to mind—about 400, by my estimation—and see how many followers each has drawn. Below is the Twitter 50, a definite popularity contest. But note that this master ranking is limited to restaurant chains, operators, chefs, consultants and industry-specific media. Suppliers aren’t included, though I will have a ranking of them in the near future.
Nor does the popularity extend to consumer-focused parties that tweet about where to eat, like a Gawker or an Eater. It’s also limited to U.S. tweeters.
The folks at Nielsen [full disclosure: a former employer] probably aren’t quaking in their neatly tied oxfords, but this may be as scientific a ranking as you’ll currently find.
I’m going to follow this overall ranking with a list tomorrow of the individuals with the most followers, then the industry media with the biggest audiences.
No doubt I’ve missed some people, and follower counts can rise and fall so quickly that the snapshot might be a little dated, even though it was taken last week.
So I’m welcoming comments, suggestions and criticisms, since I plan to give Nielsen a run for its money when it comes to industry social media.
Only kidding, Scary Guy I Used To See on the Elevator.
|Kogibbq (Kogi Truck)||67,325|
|DenverChefDude (anonymous Denver chef)||41,747|
|Sexythinker (Amanda Hite)||20,819|
|JackBox (Jack in the Box)||17,667|
|TidBitBistro (Seattle indy)||16,166|
|QMG (Restaurant Marketing/Aaron Allen)||9,090|
|Kimpton (Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants)||8,314|
|CounterBurger (The Counter chain)||7,364|
|NaplesTomato (Naples Tomato chain)||6,575|
|AJBombers (Milwaukee burger joint)||6,549|
|Orrickn (Orrick Nepomuceno)||6,498|
|SepthAndTheGoat (chef Stephanie Izard)||6,354|
|CalPizzaKitchen (California Pizza Kitchen)||6,243|
|LuckyPenny (Joni Doolin)||6,021|
|BusboysAndPoets (D.C. area’s Busboys chain)||5,950|
|Five_Guys(Five Guys Burgers & Fries)||5,826|
|RickshawTruck (NYC dumpling truck)||5,677|
|FoodBizTweet (anonymous 'Celeb Chef')||5,337|
|NRNonline (Nation’s Restaurant News)||5,242|
|CalbiBBQ (Calbi BBQ truck)||5,063|
|ChefTony (Chef Tony Marciante)||4,778|
|Burger_Lounge (Burger Lounge, San Diego)||4,593|
|ChefTramanto (chef Rick Tramanto)||4,427|
|StreetzaPizza (Milwaukee pizza truck)||4,440|
|CIACulinary (Culinary Institute of America)||4,181|