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How Wendy's Twitter Gained 300,000+ Followers By Roasting Users

Posted by AJ Beltis on 1/25/17 3:00 PM in Industry News & Trends, Restaurant Marketing

8 minute read Print

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Fast food giant Wendy's has been making headlines for its recent messages to Twitter users. The tweets range from playfully throwing shade at people (and competing restaurants) to helping them with their math homework. 

Since these "roasting" tweets gained viral traction on January 2nd, Wendy's has seen an approximate a 35% increase in followers to date, which equates to about 350,000 net new followers according to Twitter follower tool TwitterCounter.

So, what can your restaurant do to replicate Wendy's success on social media, gain more followers, and ultimately boost sales?

Catching Fire: The Beginning of Wendy's Roasts on Twitter

At the turn of the new year, Wendy's sent out a tweet featuring an image of one of their burgers with a reminder that they serve fresh beef, never frozen.

 

One skeptical Twitter user noticed the message and fired back, to which Wendy's sent a friendly clarification in response. 

 

Clearly unconvinced, the customer pushed Wendy's further. Wendy's tweeted a question that has a pretty simple answer.

 

Apparently finished with the fiasco, the user signs off with one last dig at Wendy's and their lack of "dope ass breakfast." Here's where the magic happens. 

 

The tweet was extremely well-received in the online community, earning almost 10,000 retweets. Supportive fans and followers commented back with proof of just how much they enjoyed seeing a sway away from the traditional tone businesses have with their followers.

 

While Wendy's gained sales from this initiative, that's not all they gained. Take a look at their follower growth in January of 2017 compared to their growth in December of 2016. As of this post's publishing, the percent growth is nearing 40%.

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Source: TwitterCounter

The Roasting Continues: Wendy's Best Tweets 

Since the first roast tweet, Wendy's has been booming in followers and tweet engagement, with several users aiming to get a roast of their own. Here are some of the cleverest tweets in the series of Wendy's roasts, sent by Social Media Manager Amy Brown and her two other coworkers in Wendy's community response team.  

This ruthless snapback to a user who desperately needs to check their grammar.

 

These two words that put all Big Mac lovers to shame.

 

But the McDonald's sass didn't end there. 

 

And McDonald's wasn't their only target. 

 

This kid got it easy. 

 

As the roasting went on, the tweets became less about creating mic drop moments and more about having fun with users. 

This defense of the marketing crew over at Wendy's.

 

  This outsourcing of homework we all wish we had in high school.

 

This retort to a rather racy request.   


The roast tweets were even the subject of a react episode from Fine Brothers Entertainment on YouTube, which earned over 3.5 million views in less than a week.

So...How Can My Restaurant's Twitter Be More Like Wendy's?

First off, let me say that you should not want your Twitter account to be just like Wendy's.

One of the reasons this worked so well for them is because they did something original. If you attempt to knock off the idea, that's exactly how it'll appear to your followers and your customers. Any chance of being followed or interacted with because of your originality will end before it begins.

Instead, learn from the general approach Wendy's took to their new social media strategy - remember that there is a person behind every computer screen. People respond positively to laughter and a genuine voice. Just because you're typing on a screen does not mean you are typing to a screen. 

So with that said, here are some steps your restaurant can take to capitalize on this method of social media marketing that has pushed Wendy's over the one million follower mark.

Develop a Brand Voice

Just like your restaurant's menu, concept, appearance, and location, your brand voice is unique to your restaurant. Wendy's is conveying through their Twitter that they are a human, witty, and personable brand that stays with the times and isn't afraid to be humorously edgy. This tweet serves to show that idea with a simple, three-word response.

 

If your restaurant is more of a fine dining restaurant and holds itself to a formal, elegant standard, these responses may not work as well with your follower base. Don't jeopardize your brand if it's taken years to work for it.

The only exception here is if your restaurant's brand is one that doesn't respond to tweets. If that's the case, it might be time for some minor rebranding. 

Remember You Aren't a Robot

Develop a thoughtful response to all of your tweets and messages, and don't try to interject humor when it isn't welcome. Even Wendy's knows when to keep things professional and respond appropriately.

 

Respond earnestly, remember you're tweeting to a person, and if the situation calls for it, add some humor and levity to your customer interactions. It breaks down the perceived barrier of "company and consumer" and creates a new picture of your restaurant and brand in your guests' minds. 

Throw in Some Visuals

Remember, this whole occasion began when Wendy's tweeted out a picture of their food. Since then, they've elevated to pictures and even GIFs in their replies. Recently, they've been appealing to the theater buffs in their follower base with references to Broadway sensation Hamilton. 


Whether it's a retweet, a like, a comment, a favorite, or a share, any kind of engagement is great on social media, and posts with visuals like photos, videos, and GIFs are how you can get more engagement.

Keeping Your Social Media Fresh

Wendy's has obviously done something amazing with their Twitter, but remember it started with simplicity and humor. Remember your brand image, post frequently, respond to comments, be visual, and maybe you'll be the next restaurant sensation on social media. 

Want to be the next Wendy's on social media? Download the Restaurant Social Media Branding Guide!

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Written by: AJ Beltis

AJ Beltis is a Content Marketing Specialist at Toast. After working at a pizzeria throughout high school and college, AJ now manages the Toast Blog and hosts The Garnish Podcast. When he's not writing, he's probably out running in Boston's South End or watching one of his favorite movies for the 30th time. He loves to travel and experience all the different kinds of toast the world has to offer.


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