1 in 5 Restaurant Customers Look to Influencers for Recommendations

influencer at restaurant

As restaurants look for new ways to reach consumers in the digital world, influencer partnerships can be key, PYMNTS data reveals.

By the Numbers

In the latest edition of PYMNTS’ exclusive Connected Dining report, “Connected Dining: Word of Mouth in the Digital Age,” which draws from a May survey of a census-balanced panel of more than 2,200 U.S. consumers, we look at how different digital profiles and initiatives influence consumers’ decision to buy from a given restaurant.

restaurant information

The study revealed that 18.3% of restaurant customers search for restaurant information by following influencers who review restaurants, and 20.2% do so by following content creators who review restaurants.

The Data in Action

Certainly, restaurant brands are finding opportunities to leverage consumers’ trust of, and interest in, influencers to grow their followings.

Take, for instance, Hooters, which last year rebranded its virtual chicken tender restaurant with celebrity racecar driver Chase Elliott to Chase Elliott’s Chicken Tenders.

“We’re using Chase’s social media following the is helping to attract more people into that side and we’ve got more big news coming up on that front a little bit later on,” Marc Butler, the Hooters of America’s senior vice president of strategic planning / off premises, told PYMNTS in a conversation earlier this month. “We’re incorporating some additional celebrities to create virtual concepts that helps us cut through the clutter.”

Indeed, companies that specialize in virtual brands are doing the same. For instance, take ghost kitchen creator Virtual Dining Concepts. The company’s brands include MrBeast Burger in partnership with YouTube star MrBeast, Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Kitchen (with, of course, Guy Fieri) and Pardon My Cheesesteak (a collaboration with the Pardon My Take comedic sports podcast), among other celebrity- and influencer-helmed brands.

“MrBeast Burger was this phenomenon,” Olo founder and CEO Noah Glass told PYMNTS’ Karen Webster in an interview, noting that the restaurant’s app became the No. 1 app on Apple’s App Store for a time, and the restaurant has processed over 1 million orders.