By surveying 1,206 Americans on their views on social media and the restaurant industry this past September, YouGov’s researchers found definitive information on where people are getting restaurant recommendations. Their findings are interesting, but not unexpected.
Finding a new place to eat out can be a trying process and as such 53% of those surveyed turn to friends and family first when they’re looking for a new restaurant. A surprisingly low 30% look at restaurant review sites and 10% do a quick scroll through their Instagram feed.
Thrillist recently published an article claiming that by naming a Portland burger joint the best in America, the journalist who compiled the list inadvertently killed the business by increasing the hype past a sustainable level. Many aspects of this piece have since been called into question, but SevenRooms’ report also found that while people may not be actively looking for restaurants on social media, 35% of those surveyed have visited one because they saw it in their feed.
As social media becomes a more substantial part of people's lives, these trends are only going to keep growing, and restaurants will need to change with them. SevenRooms also found that a minuscule 15% of millennials have a problem with restaurants (or their PR firms) paying influencers to promote them, which creates an interesting question.
Influencers often occupy a grey area. They're not necessarily experts, they project a polished persona that's designed to be friendly and approachable, and they're not always 100% clear which posts are sponsored and which are their real opinions.