Starbucks and Chick-fil-A Taste Success from Offline and Online Consumer Conversations, While McDonalds and Burger King Don’t Make the Cut

Engagement Labs’ TotalSocial™ Rankings Reveal Top Quick Service Restaurants Based on Social Media and Word of Mouth Conversations

NEW YORK, NY (March 29, 2017)Engagement Labs released its first-ever TotalSocial™ rankings on the top ten performing quick service restaurants (QSR) in the U.S., out of more than 25 brands, as part of a new, first of its kind analysis of combined offline and online consumer conversations. The rankings of the top U.S. QSRs are based on Engagement Labs’ proprietary TotalSocial data, which measures the most important drivers of brand performance in the only continuous measurement of social media and word of mouth conversations.

The analysis finds that the top ten is dominated by three groups of QSRs: the big three pizza brands, Papa John’s, Domino’s Pizza and Pizza Hut, the chicken leaders Chick-fil-A and KFC and the coffee dominators, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. Particularly notable for their absence from the TotalSocial leader board are a number of the largest QSRs, including burger rivals McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy’s, as well as Mexican QSR competitors Chipotle and Taco Bell.

According to Engagement Labs’ report, the QSR category as a whole has slightly higher offline scores than it does online, indicating that there are more impactful conversations happening about these brands offline—primarily via face-to-face conversations—as opposed to online, via social media mentions. Importantly, the QSR category is primarily comprised of Whisper Brands, which means they have below average scores both offline and online relative to the 500 brands tracked in TotalSocial.

However, there are outstanding TotalSocial brands in the QSR category such as Starbucks and Chick-fil-A, which are both “Conversation Commanders,” which means they perform above average both online and offline. Starbucks has an extremely high volume score for both online and offline conversations, which has helped the brand propel to the number one spot on TotalSocial.

Chick-fil-A trails behind Starbucks in terms of volume, but has one of the strongest sentiment scores in the category. Its strong sentiment score could be attributed to the unique strategy the brand put in place when launching its app by giving away free chicken sandwiches to anyone who downloaded and created an account. Unlike the majority of the brands in the QSR category, Chick-fil-A has an opposite pattern where its scores are slightly stronger online as compared to offline.

“Out of the companies with the top ten sales, only half of these appear in the top ten TotalSocial rankings. Because we know that TotalSocial performance is highly correlated with sales, this suggests we will see a dynamic change in the years ahead in terms of who has momentum and who faces challenges in growing or even maintaining their topline,” said Ed Keller, CEO of Engagement Labs. “While McDonalds, one of the most well-known QSR brands, performs well in terms of volume, they are held back by low sentiment in online and offline scores. Panera Bread and Five Guys missed the mark because of relatively low volume scores. It is imperative for brands to understand that, despite being a well-known brand in the QSR space, your message will not resonate with your customers without an impactful marketing strategy that trickles into consumer conversations.”

Although Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., are notable brands that sit at the bottom of Engagement Labs’ rankings, they both have exceptionally high offline brand sharing scores, which is likely a result of their provocative commercials, such as the one featuring supermodel Kate Upton.

Keller continued, “It is important for quick service restaurants pay attention to consumer conversations happening both online and offline. What is being said publicly on social media channels are almost never the same conversations happening offline, in a more private setting. And we know those offline conversations are critical to consumer purchase and shopping decisions.”

To learn more about brands that buck their category trend and enjoy the financial benefits of leading in consumer conversations, download Engagement Labs’ latest e-book, Lessons from the Leaders of Social Influence, here.

To learn more about Engagement Labs or TotalSocial insights and how to increase your brand’s word of mouth in real life and online, reach out at:

About Engagement Labs

Engagement Labs (TSXV:EL) is the world's first TotalSocial™ company, offering intelligent data, analytics and insights for marketers. We are leaders in tracking, measuring and benchmarking the impact of conversations happening around a brand and industry – both online and offline. Consumer conversations are a proven driver of critical business outcomes, including sales. The patent pending TotalSocial data solution provides brands with unique insights and powerful analytics to understand online and offline social impact and drive business results. TotalSocial demonstrates to marketers how their online and offline conversation compare and contrast and helps identify areas of competitive opportunity or significant emerging threats. TotalSocial is an “always-on” proprietary scoring system, based on the most important drivers of brand performance: Volume, Sentiment, Brand Sharing and Influence. TotalSocial was built on the pillars of Engagement Labs’ patented social media measurement tool and the world’s only offline word of mouth tracking system for brands and tracks 500 brands within the U.S. across 17 major industry categories, and 350 brands in the UK.

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