How Fast Casual Restaurants Stack Up on Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC]

The fast food industry is incredibly competitive, making it very important for restaurants to effectively brand and market themselves. One way restaurants can do this is by staying active and on top of social media. The infographic below tracks how the 50 largest fast casual restaurant brands use the major social media sites we’re all so familiar with, including Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube.

If you’re a Chipotle lover (who isn’t?), then you’ll be happy to know that the burrito and taco chain reigns supreme on social media as it boasted the most followers on Google+ (95,512), Instagram (18,214), Twitter (286,124) and YouTube (22,067). You may be surprised to learn that Panda Express, a fast casual restaurant serving American Chinese styled cuisine, actually rules Facebook with its astounding 3,234,049 “likes.” Panera Bread, a chain of bakery-cafe fast casual restaurant, dominates Pinterest with its 34,567 followers.

Facebook is undoubtedly the social networking site of choice when it comes to restaurant marketing. After Panda Express, the top performing fast casual restaurants on the social site—as measured by likes—include Panera Bread, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, Chipotle, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Einstein Bros Bagels, Zaxby’s, Portillo’s, Firehouse Subs and Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. Google+ has a lot of ground to cover if it wants to become more influential than Facebook in the restaurant marketing space. Chipotle leads the category with just over 95,000 followers and Five Guys is next with only 2,000 followers.

Sharing photos of delicious foods may be a powerful marketing tactic—and it seems likely that Instagram and Pinterest will be used even more by fast casual marketers. The top performing restaurants on Instagram—as measured by number of followers—include Chipotle, Raising Cane’s, Baja Fresh, Tijuana Flats, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Wingstop, Smashburger, Firehouse Subs, Jersey Mike’s Subs and Qdoba Mexican Grill. The top performers on Pinterest include Panera, La Madeleine, Jimmy John’s, Wingstop, Tijuana Flats, Qdoba, Newk’s Eatery, Corner Bakery, Dickey’s and Chipotle. Instagram has 150 million active users while Pinterest has 70 million—that’s a total of 220 million users ready to drive to a fast casual restaurant after seeing a tasty, irresistible photo on their computer screens.

Keep in mind that all these statistics are accurate as of December 19, 2013. For more details on how a number of fast casual restaurants stack up across the top social media sites, check out the full infographic below! Just a warning—it’ll make you hungry!

Crop & Save