Restaurants’ use of location-based marketing to promote to and drive consumers to a particular restaurant while they are mobile will “explode” in 2011, predicts research provider Packaged Facts.

As consumers’ uptake of location-based services continues to mushroom, with check-in services such as Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places, Twitter geolocation and competitors “not only becoming ubiquitous, but also more sophisticated,” context-aware restaurant advertising will take off “sharply” this year, the report notes.

Indeed, to date, Starbucks routinely shows by far the largest volumes of Foursquare check-ins among major retailers, with McDonald’s generally in second place and Chipotle and Burger King within the top 10, show the weekly Foursquare check-in stats published by Advertising Age.

Not only are smartphone as well as overall cell phone penetration levels skyrocketing, one in five (21%) consumers who consider going out to restaurants “part of their lifestyles” already uses cell phones or other portable devices to place orders, and nearly four in 10 adult consumers use social media platforms to learn about restaurants, according to a PF consumer survey conducted last October. (This is complemented by data from Nielsen showing that 25% of smartphone users and 14% of feature phone owners report using a dining/restaurant app during the past 30 days.)

Continues at:  MediaPost Publications Location-Based Marketing To Diners To ‘Explode’ 02/15/2011.

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