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National Restaurant Association - Restaurant popularity something to talk about

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Restaurant popularity something to talk about

Word of mouth, whether through online channels or traditional methods, is the most effective way to spread the message of a restaurant's popularity, the National Restaurant Association says.

"Word of mouth is consumers' top source for making a restaurant choice," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the NRA's Research & Knowledge Group.

According to the 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast, 93 percent of all adults questioned said they likely would choose a restaurant to dine in based on recommendations from family or friends.

"Word of mouth has also moved online now that Facebook and Twitter have supplanted a large amount of face-to-face and telephone conversations," Riehle said. "Because of that, today's restaurateurs must not only consider traditional reviews in newspapers and magazines, but also know how their restaurants are being talked about online. There are more than 1 million restaurants located across the country so current and future customers can vote quickly with their feet ‑ whether there's positive or negative word of mouth."

The report also determined that social media programs, like Groupon and LivingSocial, are growing rapidly in popularity.

Nevertheless, traditional methods were still popular with a majority of consumers. Among all adults, 66 percent said they visited a restaurant based on reviews in newspapers or magazines and 65 percent said they took advantage of advertisements mailed to their homes. However, 45 percent said they made their restaurant choices through online dining guides and another 41 percent said their choices were the result of emailed advertisements or promotions. Furthermore, of those engaging in social media, 40 percent said they made their restaurant choices because of special offers on Groupon or LivingSocial and an additional 28 percent said they made their choices based on Facebook and Twitter conversations.

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