10 Things food Internet

What’s the most popular fast food restaurant? It’s all about who has the most friends.

Fast Food: A History of Wendy's, Arby's, Burger King and Other Popular Fast Food Restaurants
Fast Food: A History of Wendy’s, Arby’s, Burger King
and Other Popular Fast Food Restaurants

When we see a question like the one above (“What’s the most popular fast food restaurant in the world”), the answer can be quite varied.

If you’re talking about the most popular in terms of “french fries”, you’re likely going to be talking about McDonald’s.

If you’re talking about most popular in terms of number of US outlets, then Subway has almost twice as many as the next nearest chain.

No, today we’re going to look at this in a slightly different way — using the power of social marketing and community engagement, Web Watch is going to determine the Most Popular Fast Food Chain, based on the number of Facebook Likes.  (the list of Top Fifty Fast Food Restaurants provided by QSR magazine)


 Rank URL  Num 
1 Starbucks    24,791,537
2 McDonald’s    10,098,722
3 Subway      8,101,005
4 Taco Bell
5 Chick-fil-A      4,555,089
6 Pizza Hut      4,306,590
7 Dunkin’ Donuts      4,040,693
8 Dairy Queen      3,688,853
9 Domino’s      3,660,643
10 KFC      3,350,911
11 Baskin Robbins      3,106,018
12 In-N-Out Burger      2,188,419
13 Papa John’s      1,909,969
14 Tim Horton’s      1,653,766
15 ColdStone Creamery      1,624,842
16 Burger King      1,557,068
17 Panda Express      1,525,164
18 Chipotle      1,482,364
19 Wendy’s
20 Carls Jr          798,284
21 Sonic Drive-In          729,347
22 Einstein Bros Bagels          676,964
23 Jimmy John’s          676,805
24 Panera Bread          664,334
25 Arby’s          623,637
26 Five Guys Burgers          563,441
27 Hardees          509,904
28 Jack in the Box          442,021
29 Zaxby’s          392,563
30 Whataburger          312,548
31 White Castle          306,736
32 Quiznos          290,608
33 Del Taco          266,833
34 Bojangles          214,763
35 Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen          189,537
36 Culver’s Burgers          187,530
37 CiCi’s Pizza          126,047
38 Qdoba Mexican Grill            98,960
39 Little Caesars            87,941
40 Papa Murphy’s Pizza            85,196
41 Checker’s / Rally’s            82,659
42 Steak N Shake            75,836
43 Krystal’s            75,828
44 Long John Silvers            55,720
45 El Pollo Loco            54,993
46 Captain Ds            49,959
47 Sbarro            46,579
48 Jasons Deli            37,411
49 Boston Market            29,752
50 Churchs Chicken            11,441

(Data pulled from Facebook the week of Aug 31, 2011)

What can we conclude from this quick little research project? 

Well, to be popular on Facebook does not necessarily mean that you’re the most popular in terms of sales or number of locations.  Nor does it have to do with the food. Web Watch knows many people who enjoy Boston Market and Jason’s Deli immensely, regardless of what the number of Facebook Likes have to do with anything.  As others have said, “just because they use those services [like Twitter, Facebook], doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing.”

What it comes down to is whether these fast food restaurants are doing two things: meeting and exceeding customers’ expectations to the point where you have created a street team of sorts of evangalistic customers… and also being sure to have a social media strategy that you can execute and stick with.  On this list, KFC was the only chain that required you to be logged into your Facebook account to view their page.  It obviously doesn’t hurt their current Facebook numbers, but you have to wonder if they would have had more simply by opening up their page’s security settings to let non-logged-in users view what KFC had to say.  Having a social media strategy that excludes is not every social.

It’s all about engaging the customer.  You may be doing it absolutely perfectly fine in the storefront… but sometimes the battlefield needs to extend a little farther.  Because if you let your guard down online, you may end up losing potential customers just because you don’t want to be their friend.

So what should you do?  For starters, try these 13 Best Practices for Restaurants on Facebook.  Even if you just implement one of these suggestions, it can’t be any worse than what you’re doing now.