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Note: This is the secondpanera-logo in a series of four posts about how leading multi-unit restaurant brands can use social media analysis as a fast and cost-effective way to do market research, analyze promotions, get immediate feedback on product launches and more.

If you’re a restaurant operator, you’re looking for consumer insights that can help you attract and satisfy diners. Social media has become one of the best sources of those insights. Analyzing what consumers are saying online about your brand, products, promotions and competitors delivers insights faster and cheaper than focus groups and surveys, and enables you to get feedback from a much larger and more diverse consumer population.

Here’s what we learned when we analyzed the social conversation around Panera Bread.

Panera Bread—Promoting the “Panera Date” Concept

Panera Bread had more than three million mentions in 2013 with an 81percent Positive Net Sentiment score and a Passion Intensity score of 62.

The menu items people talk about craving most are soups, which have a higher Net Sentiment and Passion Intensity than the brand as a whole (85 vs. 68 percent). But what guests really love is the experience. In fact, it’s the “Panera Date”—a term consumers coined themselves—that turns guests into passionate fans.

More than 150 thousand people talked about going on a “Panera Date,” which has a Net Sentiment score of 86 and a Passion Intensity score of 71—both higher than any other Panera Bread attribute.

Drilling down into “Panera Date” in the right word cloud, you get the left word cloud, which shows the emotions expressed in connection with Panera Date.

Word Clouds for Panera Date

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What Panera Bread Might Do Next

From a strategic perspective, Panera might use this discovery of a consumer-generated phrase like “Panera Date” as part of a marketing campaign associated with official dating holidays like Valentine’s Day or Sweetest Day. They might even promote the idea to their existing customer database by identifying when a customer might have wedding anniversaries, offering a bounce-back coupon for lunch.

Panera might better collect this conversation by promoting, using and responding to guests who tweet at #paneradate on Twitter and Facebook. That gives the brand the opportunity to interact one-to-one with customers and increase positive brand sentiment.

What’s more, the brand’s public relations team can use those interactions to help generate earned media for the initiative and potentially increase offline word of mouth.

What Individual Consumers Say About Panera Dates

In order to gain a deeper understanding of actual consumer comments, or verbatim, the marketing and brand team at Panera might analyze the specific language being used by consumers in hopes of gaining additional insights into any specific product attributes being talked about.

Verbatim for Panera Date

panera-verbatim

Watch for our next restaurant analysis, when we look at Chipotle Mexican Grill and their new Sofritas menu item.

You can download our complete eBook, “Social’s Favorite Multi-Unit Restaurants,” here.

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