This Week In

This Week in Restaurant Technologies #018 — Foursquare, Applebee’s, Instagram

This Week in Restaurant Technologies, with Nate Riggs and Brandon Hull

After a week away, Nate Riggs and I are back with a new episode of This Week in Restaurant Technologies.

On tap this week: Foursquare launches the newest version of its core app, and Applebee’s hands over the reins of its Instagram account to fans and followers. Oh boy [wrings hands].


At the 0:54 mark we dive right into our assessment of the newly relaunched Foursquare app. Now, I have to tell you, when Foursquare first launched many moons ago, I was excited. Then I lost interest.

I didn’t get excited about Foursquare because of the games, I was excited to see an alternative to Yelp — though I didn’t at the time feel Yelp, as an app, was broken. And I liked that restaurants could reward people for checking-in and publicizing their location.

Well, checking-in isn’t the rage — although, passively people are doing that now with Foursquare whether they realize it or not. It’s just like Foursquare’s other app, Swarm, in that way, unless you turn it off. Now, the laser focus is about restaurants getting found.

The new Foursquare app, when you install it or update it, asks you as the consumer to update your preferred tastes. Think “pulled pork” or “sliders” or “lasagna” and so forth. It then uses those, along with your extended network, to help you discover places to eat.

I’d lost interest in Foursquare because I was tired of watching them try to figure out what they wanted to be, while they chewed through investor money. Well, I’m on-board with the new app, despite its lost reward functionality.

Applebee’s & Instagram

Read:  How to Make Your Restaurant the Most Popular in the City

At the 6:53 mark we get into Applebee’s and their Instagram promotion.

You can see that promotion in-action here.

Here’s how it works: Applebee’s fans first must opt-in at a specific website, then begin sharing their photos taken at Applebee’s locations with the hashtag #Applebees or #Fantographer. Then, “anything” (note the quotation marks) they snap a photo of is shared with a nice, branded border, on the Applebee’s Instagram account.

Again, note the quotation marks in that last paragraph. One must assume there’s some filtering going on here. Of course. And assuming there is, and assuming the process of adding the branded border is automated as well, I think this is a great and clever idea for Applebee’s. They post nothing but reposts.

You have to imagine that the sentiment analysis resulting from this will be a positive one for the brand. There will be the jokesters who go R-rated with their posts — which surely won’t make it past those filters. But in general I’m sure Applebee’s will get a nice bounce as they give people their 15 seconds of fame.

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About the author

Brandon Hull

Brandon is the original founder of He has helped thousands of restaurants implement innovative marketing strategies, campaigns, and tactics by incorporating new technology, in order to attract loyal guests.