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In-Depth Look at the 2020 Localized Marketing Benchmark Report for Restaurants


Localized marketing is an essential component for running successful multi-location businesses. For the restaurant industry, specifically, localized marketing is more important than ever before. Localization came full force as COVID-19 swept across the world, forcing many consumers to shift their buying behaviors to digital. 


We’ll dive into our special report that looks at the top restaurants in localized marketing throughout this blog. Not only will you find out which multi-location restaurants are leading the pack in localized marketing, but you’ll also get insight into the tactics they’ve used to find success and learn how to implement them into your localized marketing efforts. 


Why Localized Marketing Matters


If your restaurant chain is still not convinced that localized marketing is key to building a successful marketing strategy, consider the following. Data from our recent report found that nine out of 10 consumers use local search when they are hungry or are looking for a restaurant. Nearly 100 percent of these searches are now dominated by Google 3-pack results, which Google uses to display the top three results for Google search engine result pages. For instance, if a potential customer searches for “restaurants near me,” the Google 3-pack would display three restaurants near the user’s current location. There are also times when the local intent isn’t included in the search, but the results are still localized, emphasizing localization’s importance. 




In addition to local search, a robust localized marketing strategy can also help you communicate with your consumers at the local level. Restaurant chains can no longer speak to their audiences the same way across different locations. Sharing local offerings and service differences is essential, and localized marketing can help you do so. 


While localized marketing can help you communicate to consumers at the local level, it can also help you build a community through those local conversations. Throughout the pandemic, consumers have craved a local connection. Whether you’re sharing stories about how your local restaurants are giving back to front-line workers or you’re hosting a virtual happy hour, it’s crucial to build a community with your consumers. If your consumers feel connected to your restaurant locations, they will be more likely to return and encourage others to dine there as well. Now that you better understand the importance of localized marketing, let’s look at which restaurants win in their industry and learn how to incorporate these tactics into your efforts. 


Top Restaurants in Localized Marketing 


When ranking the restaurants in localized marketing, we used our 2020 Localized Marketing Benchmark Report to score the audited 50 top restaurant chains as a part of the study based on the following criteria: 

  • Company sources: Nation’s Restaurant News’ Top 200 Report on the Top 50 Chains
  • Locations: On average, 85 percent of the restaurants’ locations were audited
  • Scoring: Examination of a local business’s presence, ratings & reviews, and community engagement across the top three localized marketing platforms – Google My Business (GMB), Facebook, and Yelp


When looking at the scoring criteria specifically, we ask ourselves, Did each of the locations have a good presence in localized search results across the top three platforms? Did ratings meet an average threshold and score? What was the response rate like? Were locations posting localized content and engaging with consumers? 


We give you all of this information to better understand what it takes for restaurants to place in the top 10. The scoring is done on a scale of 1-100. Below you will see a preview of which restaurants made the top 10. Longhorn Steakhouse and Texas Roadhouse tied for the lead with a score of 88. Five Guys rounded out our top 10 with a score of 70. 


Although no restaurant scored a perfect 100 – these top brands are enjoying more than their fair share of local search visibility and as a result – local traffic and sales by maintaining a healthy localized presence for each of their locations across search, social, and the top ratings and reviews sites. For a more in-depth look into the data and more insight on the top sit-down restaurants and top fast-casual restaurants, download the full report




Getting Started with Your Localized Marketing Efforts


Now that you see what it takes to become a leading restaurant chain in localized marketing, what can your restaurant do to make the list? After looking through all of the data, we came up with a few recommendations for your restaurant chain to follow. 

  • Claim and optimize all of your local pages. If you don’t have updated local listings, you will be less likely to appear in Google’s local search results. 
  • Encourage consumers to leave local reviews, and respond to the reviews in a personalized and timely manner.
  • Capitalize on the desire for consumers to go local. Engage in local conversations online, and build a connection with your local community. 
  • Consistency is king. Optimize ranking factors across the three big platforms to create a “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” advantage.


If you’d like more insight on taking your localized marketing strategy to the next level, SOCi is here to help! SOCi is the central-command for multi-location marketers and the all-in-one platform for your localized marketing needs. From local listings to ratings and reviews to local social media management, SOCi has you covered. Make sure your restaurant appears in the next special report and get started building a winning localized marketing strategy today! What are you waiting for? Request a demo today. 

Learn how SOCi can help take your
localized marketing to the next level.