Daily Insights

The Top 10 Restaurants in Digital

By: Evan Mack | Jan 31, 2020

As customers look to dining out instead of grocery shopping, restaurant brands must find ways to save their time and energy—key motives driving food orders. Many restaurants have added partnerships with couriers while others have added pickup and delivery on their sites, showing that no single tactic is the answer for all brands. But the top ten brands in Gartner’s Digital IQ Index: Restaurants US 2019 report are finding ways to peak customer interest in new offerings and connect them to newly enabled commerce opportunities.

1. Domino’s Pizza
Digital IQ: 151

Domino’s continues to be an outright leader in Google search, frequently beating information hubs and Index brands in paid and organic visibility against pizza keywords. Following compelling promotions that encourage customers to upload pictures of pizza on its app, the pizza giant promotes its Piece of the Pie rewards program on first load of mobile app for new customers. 

2. Taco Bell
Digital IQ: 149

After focusing on significant mobile site development, Taco Bell leads the Index in mobile site speed and traffic and has completed Grubhub integration on its site. Taco Bell leads across all social platforms and is the Index’s most active restaurant on Instagram Stories, utilizing geolocation, mentions, and hashtags. 

3. Starbucks
Digital IQ: 143

A leader in ongoing communication with its loyal customers, Starbucks continues to capitalize on the Index’s most used app, pushing point-multiplying events and customized cross-selling to help customers quickly build meals around their drinks. To help support seasonal items like its cold brew coffee, the coffee leader also leverages targeted seasonal spend on Google.

4. Pizza Hut
Digital IQ: 139

Pizza Hut’s strong email promotions drive the Index’s highest referral traffic from email and generates awareness of delivery and new item promotions. The chain has found an edge in housing robust account information on site, expediting checkout and driving customers to its Hut Rewards points-based program.

5. Chipotle Mexican Grill
Digital IQ: 134

Chipotle has generated buzz across different payment and social platforms. It paired the launch of its Chipotle Rewards program with a promotion on Venmo and saw an immediate uptick in downloads. Chipotle was also an early adopter of Tik Tok, where its #guacdance campaign garnered over 400 million views during the promotion period.

6. Subway
Digital IQ: 132

Subway has offered fulfillment with multiple couriers since 2018 and focused on enhancing its digital experience overall since then. Its streamlined mobile app puts rewards, reorders, and favorite orders front and center and maintains gradual growth of monthly active usership.

7. Panera Bread
Digital IQ: 126

With new adjustments to its breakfast menu and tests for its dinner options in select locations, Panera is quickly expanding its day part options and addressing emerging customer interests in plant-based options across categories.  Panera has also looked to make its offerings more available in the form of expanded courier partnerships with UberEats, DoorDash and Grubhub.

7. Papa John’s
Digital IQ: 126

Papa John’s partnership with Uber Eats has expanded its third-party delivery coverage, allowing it to remain competitive with Genius brand Domino’s during peak delivery periods.

9. Wendy’s
Digital IQ: 125

Joining the top ten in 2019, Wendy’s has focused on menu development and finding organic opportunities to broadcast brand developments. With investments in marketing expected to support its launch of breakfast items in 2020, Wendy’s found opportunities to gain organic traction on Twitter, seeing significant coverage of its fan-favorite Spicy Nuggets after a crowdsourced campaign for the item’s return.

10. Applebee’s
Digital IQ: 124

Also joining the top ten in 2019, Applebee’s has continued to improve its relevance with paid strategies and new partnerships. While partnering with DoorDash to expand coverage and offer free delivery promotions for a season, Applebee’s has also invested in Google text ads and Mobile display ads promoting new items and seeing some of the highest impressions in the Index.

For more information about how restaurants are deploying strategies to gain new customers and retain the old, download Gartner’s Digital IQ Index: Restaurants US 2019 report.


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