Monday, July 12, 2010

Twitter's most popular restaurant chains

In an industry of chain Goliaths, Twitter is where the Davids can strut like kings.

Sure, there’s a correlation between an operation’s size and its placement on the Restaurant Twitter 50, a ranking of restaurant tweeters by number of followers. But a breakout of the most popular chains proves brains and bravado can still best bigness when marketing’s delivered in 140-character bites.

Consider, for instance, that this is the rare ranking that McDonald’s doesn’t top. With some 31,000 stores, it’s still in the rarified territory of sixth place, but behind 7,000-unit Starbucks and 3,000-store Dunkin’ Donuts, or just 3,000 followers ahead of the greybearded Pizza Hut.

Meanwhile, burger upstarts like The Counter, Five Guys, and Mooyah Burgers scored far higher than their size might suggest (about 21, 600, and 14 units, respectively). They, of course, enjoy a cultlike following, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that glassy-eyed fanatics would seize any means they can to foster a connection with the brand. Indeed, you can put Culvers in that class, too, with 4,662 fans.

Yet In N Out, the consummate craze brand, has mustered a mere 1,939 followers.

And what about Burger King, the resurging giant of the field? It’s apparently sitting out the medium. It’s hard to tell if either of two brand-affiliated tweeters, BurgerKing_ or BurgerKingFan, is even official. In any case, neither has more than 2,000 followers, and Burger_King hasn’t posted a single tweet.

The big full-service chains can identify. Most are similarly leaving the twitter-sphere to sassy, younger and far smaller brands, including such relatively unknown ones as Zippy’s and Busboys.


Chain TweeterFollowers
Starbucks 946,396
DunkinDonuts 54,100
JackBox (Jack in the Box)17,667
KFC_colonel (KFC)14,731
DairyQueen 7,434
CounterBurger (The Counter chain)7,364
NaplesTomato (Naples Tomato chain)6,575
Hooters 6,458
CalPizzaKitchen (California Pizza Kitchen) 6,243
BusboysAndPoets (D.C. area’s Busboys chain) 5,950
Five_Guys(Five Guys Burgers & Fries)5,826
MOOYAHburger 4,565
Zippys (Zippy’s chain, Hawaii) 4,147

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