Reporter's Notebook

Something to talk about

I just dropped by the Technology Pavilion at the NRA Show to say hello to sources of mine that have provided some provacative data for a couple recent stories.

Within five minutes of sitting down with the firm's two representatives manning the booth, I came across another interesting tidbit about restaurants on Facebook.

In the past week, the restaurant chains that have garnered the most comments on their Facebook walls -- and presumably the greatest opportunity to draw the line from social-media engagement to repeat business and some attractive marketing ROI -- have not been talking about themselves. They have been asking their customers what they think.

Here are the four individual Facebook posts from restaurants that have received the most comments in the past seven days:

Hard Rock Cafe: "If you could bring back any dead rock star, who would it be?" 1,346 comments

Waffle House: "Attention Waffle Nation: Where do you think we should open the next Waffle House restaurant?" 1,045 comments

Outback Steakhouse: "Hint #2: Mediterranean ______. Any guesses?" [Editor's Note: This is part of a word jumble contest promoting a new menu item set to debut next week] 959 comments

Chili's Bar & Grill: "Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat?" [Editor's Note: Da Bulls. Though 10-year-old Mark Brandau would disown his future self for writing this, he'd also understand given how unliked the Heat and LeBron James are in his native Northeast Ohio right now. Go Cavs!] 795 comments

The lesson here: Nothing sparks conversation and engagement on Facebook for restaurants like a good question. Waffle House and Outback asked brand-specific questions, while Hard Rock and Chili's did just as well asking something unrelated to restaurants (though still tied to their environments).

Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected].

Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN.

TAGS: News
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