Of those who follow or learn about restaurants via social media sites, two-thirds report that they do so in order to get promotional deals (67%) or to learn about new items (66%). Fewer consumers use social media to find out where free food is being offered by restaurants (37%), learn about new restaurant locations (29%) and check out new advertisements (25%).
ONLINE REVIEWS ARE A TRUSTED SOURCE
In both November 2009 and November 2010, approximately 40% of consumers indicated that they consulted online sources for restaurant reviews. Over the course of the past year, however, online reviews appear to have gained clout with consumers. In November 2009, approximately three-fourths of consumers (77%) who consulted online reviews trusted them completely or somewhat, but by November 2010, the proportion of consumers with partial or complete trust in online reviews had risen to 85%.
Consumers report that they use online reviews mainly to learn about the restaurant in general (77% in both 2009 and 2010). Other top reasons for consulting such reviews are to make sure the restaurant is worth the money that would be spent to go there, and to learn which dishes are best to order (52% for both in 2010).