Study: Internet Top Info Resource For Local Restaurants, Business


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A new Pew Study has found that people rely on the Internet more than any other resource to get information about local businesses and restaurants.

The results come from data that was gathered earlier this year from a sample of 2,251 adults in the United States. Of those surveyed, 55% of adults actually seek out information about local restaurants before sallying forth into the world to fill their bellies. Among those adults seeking out info about where they may eat, 51% of them used the Internet, which includes search engines, specialty websites, and social media. 31% of people still rely on newspapers or newspaper websites (print ain't dead yet!) and 23% of you actually still talk to people to get recommendations.

Among the participants in the study, those most likely to get information about restaurants, bars, and clubs were "disproportionately young, female, tech adaptive and upscale in educational attainment, and urban." You know what that means, ladies? If you're under 30 years old, tech-savvy, have at least some college education, and live in a metropolitan city then you are probably the one planning most of your dates. So send not to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for chivalry.

Pew also asked participants how they get information about local businesses other than restaurants and bars so as to distinguish between those looking to wine and dine and those looking to shop (presumably?). Of the 60% of adults who look for such info, 47% rely on the Internet while 30% rely on newspapers (sites or print) and, third most-used again, 22% of people rely on word-of-mouth to find out about local businesses. No distinctions were observed among race, gender, and ethnicity. The significant demographics are fairly similar to those who look for info about restaurants and bars except in this case, women aren't overwhelmingly seeking out the information more than men. Seems like guys are more interested in planning their shopping sprees than they are eating or drinking or dancing.

As far as consumers most likely to coalesce around local businesses go, they appear to rely less on television as an information resource (the only things used less are radio, newsletters, and mobile phones [as in they call the business?]). Only 8% of those looking for any information on local businesses got information from television. Makes sense, given most of the advertisements are typically for chain restaurants (probably because those are the only business entities that can afford those TV spots). You could deduce that hopeful patrons of local businesses search for information through more direct lines of communication (business websites, local newspapers, experiential recommendations from others), which could be the foundation of building a marketing network in a community of local businesses.

Which reminds me: I need to check out UrbanSpoon reviews about the Indian restaurant across the street before lunch time rolls around.

So what do you use when you're trying to find out about local businesses or restaurants? Share your info-searching skills below in the comments.