Restaurants are increasingly exploring how location-based social networks like Foursquare can help build customer traffic. With consumers' increased adoption of smart phones that are able to find a user's location and offer nearby promotions, restaurants chains -- from casual operators Kona Grill, Chili's Grill & Bar and Red Robin, to quick-service players like Starbucks, Pinkberry and Pizza Hut -- are finding a growing consumer base.
Many of these restaurants are partnering with Foursquare, which has been adding 100,000 users a week and passed the 2 million-user mark in mid-July. The consumer network allows users to become "mayors" of sites if they have the most check-ins, and offers "badges" as a reward based on check-ins from numerous locations. Other location-based networks include Gowalla, Whrrl, Loopt, MyTown and Brightkite.
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