guestXM – by Black Box Intelligence

Why Social Data Matters to Your Operations Director

Social data can reveal important strengths and weaknesses of your business that your operations team can leverage into enhanced performance.

Social media may be a marketer’s best friend, but it can also be a secret weapon for your operations team.

Social media listening can reveal important strengths and weaknesses of your business – strengths and weaknesses that your whole team can then leverage into enhanced performance and a versatile strategy that your COO will approve of.

For restaurants especially, operations teams need to understand what their customers are saying about them online. Whether guests are complaining about service or raving about the newest burger, your operations team needs to have an action plan and implement it fast.

Here’s the social data that operations need to pay attention to:

  • Overall guest satisfaction. Is your brand receiving more positive or negative social media mentions each month? This may seem like the most obvious social media metric for marketers to track, but your guests’ overall sentiment is also a good barometer of your restaurant experience for the operations team. Your servers may need more training or they could be the best in the business, but you wouldn’t know without listening to guest comments on social media. Guest Intelligence tracks this metric with the net sentiment score. Net sentiment score is the percentage of positive mentions minus the percentage of negative mentions.
  • Problem areas. Are guests complaining about hair in their food? Is your customer service team receiving comments about undercooked chicken? Diving deep into the negative comments your brand is receiving and looking for common themes can help your operations team identify problem areas for your brand. This can also help you address small problems as they happen before they grow into big problems.
  • Beloved items. Do you have a secret sauce for your burgers? Are your customers raving about your quadruple-chocolate-pecan-crunch dessert? Most customers love to share their delectable dishes with friends and family, and the first place that post or review goes is online. Knowing the items that keep your guests coming back for more is crucial for the entire organization. Ensure that your team is continuing to put attention and care into serving your customers what they love. For example, the top five food terms that received the most positive online sentiment for quick service brands last year were chicken, fries, pizza, burger, and sauce.
  • Mentions for each guest satisfaction attribute. Aside from specific items, it’s also necessary to know how your overall experiences are serving customers. Guest Intelligence tracks six guest satisfaction attributes, which are deemed the most meaningful indicators of a guest’s experience: food, beverage, service, value, intent to return, and ambiance. Which guest satisfaction attributes are you receiving the most praise for? Are you getting high marks on your food but low marks on your restaurant’s ambiance? Knowing this will give your operations team a better idea of where to improve. Read more about how top-performing brands in each dining segment differentiate themselves from the competition here.
  • How the rest of the segment and industry is performing. If your restaurant brand has been suffering recently, you are not alone. The industry has been experiencing a prolonged downturn for the past two years, and it is hitting some dining segments (like casual dining) much harder than others. That’s why it’s important to benchmark your social metrics against your segment’s and the industry’s performance. This will help you understand if it’s you or the market, as well as the areas in which your competitors may be outperforming you.


Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K) has revealed a strong correlation between social media metrics and operational performance. Through identifying top-performing restaurants based on sales growth, Black Box Intelligence has discovered that restaurants with more positive online mentions for intent to return, service, and value also have significantly higher sales and traffic growth, as well as lower hourly and management turnover.
Learn more about how your brand’s performance on social correlates to operational performance in the Restaurant Guest Satisfaction Snapshot.

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