Twitter is what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about. It’s a living, breathing, always-on focus group where you can find conversation on virtually any topic you can imagine. For brands, if you take the time to really lean in and listen, you’ll be able to see the impact on your bottom line. The most relevant and successful quick-service brands use Twitter insights to launch new products and connect to what’s happening on a regular basis. They see Twitter as a way of getting real-time feedback on what their customers love, hate, want them to bring back, or even want them to create from scratch.
Taco Bell has long used social listening to bring back crowd favorites several times over the past decade. In 2004, it launched its exclusive Mountain Dew flavor Baja Blast and consumers went crazy for it—and even crazier when it was removed from the menu. After that, people on Twitter began begging Taco Bell for years to bring it back, and eventually the company did. This time, Taco Bell surprised and delighted people by individually responding to those who had Tweeted at them asking for Baja Blast.
Most recently, Taco Bell CEO Mark King took to Twitter with a very unique way to announce the brand was bringing potatoes back to the menu after months and months of requests from users on Twitter. It then followed up letting everyone know the potatoes were coming back with the official countdown to March 11.
The news is out – potatoes are officially BACK at Taco Bell on 3/11/21. 🥔 pic.twitter.com/CY46DzJlQw— Taco Bell (@tacobell) January 14, 2021
The public thanks you. https://t.co/PKdjDsKDZb— Taco Bell (@tacobell) March 3, 2021
And it’s not just Taco Bell. The value that the Twitter conversation provides has become a secret sauce for numerous brands in the category that have adopted similar approaches to listen to customer feedback and make menu changes. In February, Wingstop took to Twitter to surprise and delight its passionate, fiercely loyal fans who had been pining for some of its past flavors, some even as far back as 2019. To reward its loyal following, Wingstop replied to hundreds of these Tweets and requests, letting guests know their wish had been granted.
Sometimes it can even be the return of a cultural icon—like with the McRib. One of the most often asked questions to McDonald’s on Twitter is when the McRib is coming back. McDonald’s decided to take that insight and have a little fun with its customers:
it’s always “when is the McRib coming back” and never “how are you doing person who runs the McDonald’s account”— McDonald's (@McDonalds) October 23, 2020
After stirring up the masses with that Tweet, it rewarded customers with the announcement that the McRib would be available nationwide for the first time since 2012 with this Tweet:
nationwide for the first time since 2012 if u can believe it— McDonald's (@McDonalds) October 30, 2020
McDonald’s has also seen an uptick in fans pleading for the return of other menu favorites, like Hi-C Orange Lavaburst, which rolled off national menus in 2017. McDonald’s used Twitter to confirm that this iconic beverage would be back by popular demand, first with a “leak” Tweet and then with the official announcement, last month:
take notes pic.twitter.com/rRusVedpVX— McDonald's (@McDonalds) February 10, 2021
Sometimes McDonald’s will even just flat out ask its customers what they want and listen to the myriad responses on what its customers miss most:
which McDonald’s menu item do u miss the most?— McDonald's (@McDonalds) November 17, 2020
Ultimately, McDonald’s menu choices are driven by customer demand and reducing complexity in kitchens to ensure restaurants can run seamlessly and efficiently. While not every customer post or petition will result in a former menu favorite returning, McDonald’s is embracing Twitter as a key platform to engage with fans. As ingredient alternatives and healthier options become more and more popular, the conversation grows on Twitter. Sooner or later, users will be asking your brand to include them on the menu. Earlier this month, Starbucks delighted Twitter users announcing that, starting on March 2, oat milk would be available in U.S. stores.
So we heard you wanted oatmilk... Oatly is available at Starbucks starting March 2—add it to all of your favorite drinks! (US only) pic.twitter.com/kPNnwtLN9V— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) March 1, 2021
It’s this constant conversation and engagement with people that allows quick-service brands to connect with their customers and understand what really drives them into their stores. It can be everything from simple reviews of new menu items to customers asking you to bring back their all-time favorites. The most important thing is that you listen to what they have to say. Twitter recently analyzed billions of Tweets for the last two years to better understand the evolving cultural trends and conversations shaping our future. Brands can now access this Conversation Report at marketing.twitter.com. Happy listening—and happy Tweeting!
Adam Carpenter has spent the last 19 years in the digital and social media space. Spending the last eight of those years at Twitter, Adam oversees the QSR/Dining vertical for Twitter's national sales team, setting go-to-market strategies and revenue solutions. Connect with Adam on Twitter at @adamput.