A new report shows a discrepancy between what restaurant owners think consumers want from digital, and what consumers find useful.

Greg Sterling reports on Search Engine Land that, “[r]estaurateurs are more likely than restaurant patrons to say digital marketing channels and reviews influence customers’ restaurant choices.” A new report by Toast, a restaurant point of sale and management system, gives some interesting insights on the digital landscape for restaurants. The report features surveys from about 1,000 consumers and 1,200 restaurant owners and staff collected between June 2018 and March 2019.

Source: Toast Restaurant Success survey

The top three platforms were agreed upon between respondents, however it’s the percentage difference that are important. However, both overwhelmingly agreed that “Recommendations from Friends & Family” were the top most reason for restaurant decision-making. Online reviews and Facebook took the second and third spots for both groups, respectively.

Interestingly, restaurateurs favored Instagram at 22%, while customers only gave it 8%. That’s below custom ordering platforms (12%) and even newspapers (13%). On the show, Josh and I discuss this discrepancy. We believe the reason is that, while Instagram is fantastic for aesthetic content, when making a decision you probably want to know more info. For example, hours of operation and a menu.

Source: Toast Restaurant Success survey

Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter ranked as the top three social media platforms for restaurants. Unsurprisingly, Facebook takes the top spot and is the top hit for customers.

Social Ad Buys

Sterling reports that paid media social was a top focus with 67% of restauranteurs saying “they are buying or will buy social ads (read: Facebook).”

Following that are sponsored local events, SEM, traditional print media, PR, direct mail and TV.

Source: Toast Restaurant Success survey

Sterling also reports that restaurateurs (90%) valued customer feedback. Online reviews and/or social media were the most popular, used by 30% of owners. Comment cards, verbal feedback and responses to digital receipts are a few of the other additional methods.

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