Prioritizing Loyalty through Technology: Southern Rock Restaurant’s Guest Engagement Improvement Journey with SOCi Genius

“Reputation management tells a story that is important to every store. Our goal is to ensure every guest receives a positive response and address any negative experiences promptly, but we were spread thin trying to keep up with reviews while also managing other aspects of our business,” said Southern Rock Restaurant’s Director of Marketing and Digital Activation, Carrie Spencer.


Southern Rock Restaurants (SRR), a major franchise operator in the GoTo Foods brand portfolio, operates 156 McAlister’s Deli restaurants across thirteen states and is expanding. The sheer volume of reviews SRR receives — over 25,000 a month — and the round-the-clock nature of online guest interactions made maintaining a stellar online reputation, essential in the fiercely competitive hospitality industry, almost impossible for the SRR team to process manually. The team also struggled with consistently posting social media content at scale for franchisees to effectively engage with customers on various platforms and networks

“Genius Reviews allows us to work smarter, not harder, in managing our online reputation.”

– Southern Rock Restaurant’s Director of Marketing and Digital Analytics, Carrie Spencer

Just one month after launch, SRR was able to respond to 148% more reviews than it had previously. This increase in guest engagement translates directly into enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty. Timely and meaningful brand responses matter because 94% of consumers use reviews to make local buying decisions. “Genius exceeds our goals for responses and is forward-thinking in how it responds. It’s easy with human interaction to make mistakes but with Genius, there are no mistakes, no responses are ever the same, and we don’t have to use templated responses anymore,” said Spencer. “We can redirect our efforts towards creating compelling content, maintaining other technology, and conducting regular audits.” 


Uniquely, Genius Reviews also helps SRR identify product issues inside of reviews and stay on top of quality control, especially when stores have limited-time offers. The added security measures and spam identification capabilities provide peace of mind, safeguarding the brand’s reputation to ensure they aren’t responding to spam reviews. 


SRR also utilizes SOCi Social to address inconsistent social media posting. With a scalable way to post localized content for all franchisees across multiple networks, SRR increased its posting frequency by 900% on Meta in just 90 days, leading to an impressive 48% increase in engaged Facebook page users. By prioritizing customer engagement and efficiency, SRR exemplifies the transformative power of SOCi and SOCi Genius in helping the brand better know and understand its customers and overcome online reputation management challenges.


When businesses respond to customer reviews, 50% of customers report feeling satisfied that the response was helpful and met or exceeded expectations. Implementing SOCi Genius Reviews, SRR has cut its review response time by 55% and has achieved an impressive 99% response rate within 24 hours. Spencer was even able to respond to a backlog of over 107,000 historical reviews by herself, amidst her other responsibilities. “SOCi Genius Review’s automated response capabilities and brand voice consistency were game-changers,” noted Spencer. “It offers the efficiency we desperately need.”

SOCi Results

SRR’s journey shows the value of Genius Reviews and SOCi Social in delivering tangible benefits apparent in the following results, including:

  • SRR now has automated 1-star review responses to ensure timely responses and escalations.
  • Over 107,000 historical reviews were never responded to or even seen. Utilizing SOCi’s tools, SRR responded to all of these in a matter of weeks.
  • Time to respond to reviews has decreased from 10 days to 4.5 days.
  • SRR has built a custom report to flag certain reviews to allow easy sentiment tracking based on keywords mentioned.



Reduction in employee time spent responding to reviews.



Review response rate within 24 hours using Genius Reviews.



More reviews were responded to month over month after launching Genius Reviews.



Increase in Facebook page post engagements in just 30 days with SOCi Social.



Increase in Facebook posts published after launching SOCi Social.



Increase in Facebook page engaged users in only 30 days after launching SOCi Social.

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