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National Restaurant Association - Operators say social media gets marketing message out

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Operators say social media gets marketing message out

A majority of U.S. restaurant operators are embracing social media as the preferred method of consumer marketing, new research from the National Restaurant Association has found.

The national survey, conducted in partnership with online marketing firm LivingSocial, found that 69 percent of all operator respondents participated in social media to publicize their restaurants, while 58 percent advertised in coupon booklets, 56 percent utilized direct-to-consumer email, 53 percent advertised in their local newspapers and 45 percent placed ads on the Internet.

According to Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the NRA's Research & Knowledge Group, the use of online marketing as a communications tool will continue to grow going forward, and restaurateurs recognize its importance in attracting more customers to their respective businesses.

"More operators are seeing online marketing's strong potential to grow both revenue and customers," Riehle said. "As more tech-savvy consumers rely on computers and mobile phones to help them make their dining and entertainment choices, social media is becoming the go-to source for quick-hit information. Restaurateurs recognize this and are looking to tap into the growing trend."

Among fullservice operators, 73 percent said they used social media to publicize their restaurants' specials and services, while 47 percent found coupon booklets useful, 64 percent utilized direct-to-consumer emails, 56 percent advertised in their local newspapers and 45 percent placed ads on the Internet.

For quickservice operators, the findings varied somewhat. Among operators polled, 62 percent said they used social media as their preferred method of marketing communications, but 69 percent stated they advertised their businesses in coupon booklets, 49 percent sent direct-to-consumer emails, 51 percent advertised in their local newspapers and 45 percent advertised on the Internet.

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