Instagram has taken over the restaurant industry by storm. The social network has made customers and chefs take an aesthetics-first approach to eating and cooking.
With made-for-Instagram restaurants popping up right and left, the competition can be discouraging if your restaurant doesn’t serve dishes with “unicorn” in the name and doesn’t house an Insta-worthy mural. The competition is especially tough against the big branded franchises who have extremely strong marketing power, and other advantages of franchising giants
Fortunately, your restaurant doesn’t need to be Insta-famous to market itself successfully on the platform. Marketing on Instagram for restaurants can be a hit when you share a diverse mix of content. By doing this you show followers the many facets of your restaurant and thereby turn them into customers. Read on to find out the five types of posts your restaurant should be sharing on the ‘gram.
Instagram for restaurants: Get your profile in order
Before we get to the restaurant Instagram marketing tips, here’s a quick checklist to make sure that your profile is up to snuff. But first - why is it important to have a decent and active profile?
Roughly one third of millennials avoid restaurants with a weak Instagram presence. Give your profile a tune up to avoid losing these valuable customers.
- Profile Photo: Your profile photo should be representative of your restaurant’s brand and easy to see. Use a logo or a photo of a signature dish.
- Bio: Think of this as your elevator pitch. Describe what makes your restaurant unique and what kind of food it serves. Include hours and an address.
- Link: Link to your website or online ordering menu to get the cash registers ringing. Or better yet, include links to both with the help of a bio link tool like LinkGallery.
- Instagram Stories Highlights: As you create Instagram Stories content for your restaurant, archive it using the highlights feature. Split content up into categories like “Food,” “People,” “Happy Hour,” etc.
After you’ve perfected your profile, it’s time to start sharing some juicy content!
The 5 most important restaurant Instagram posts to share
You don’t need to transform your place into an Instagram restaurant by serving gimmicky dishes to have success on the ‘gram. Rotate through these Instagram post ideas for a dynamic mélange that your followers will love to like.
1. Food porn
What: A classic food-focused post promoting your restaurant’s offerings.
Why is it important? Food porn posts drive sales! Appetizing posts featuring your dishes will make followers stop scrolling and come in or order food.
Anatomy of the food porn post:
- Photo: Whether you highlight one dish at a time or capture a spread, you must pay attention to photo quality in a food porn post. If your photography skills are subpar, hire a photographer or photo-savvy intern to take photos of your restaurant’s dishes.
- Caption: You can make your caption short, funny, and illustrated with emojis, or you can use the space to share a longer story about the dish or its ingredients. Your brand’s voice won’t determine what you write but will determine how you write it.
- Hashtags: #jimspub, #sweetgreen, Anything relevant to the dish like ingredients (#rice #salmon #cucumbers) or dish type (#sushi #sashimi #japanesefood). Popular hashtags related to food porn: #foodporn, #food, #foodgasm, #instafood, #foodie
2. Food holidays
What: Instagram for restaurants is a lot of fun because there’s a food holiday to celebrate almost every day! These posts honor days like #NationalCoffeeDay or #DoughnutDay.
Why is it important? Food holiday posts are very important for restaurant Instagram marketing because they tie your restaurant to a viral food-related event. Food holidays are a great opportunity for audience discovery as Instagram users explore food holiday hashtags to see what is being shared.
Anatomy of the food holiday post:
- Photo: Participate in a food holiday only if it naturally fits in with your restaurant’s brand and menu. If you own a health-focused restaurant, celebrating Doughnut Day doesn’t make sense. When a food holiday is a good fit, be creative with your photo so that it stands out among the thousands of others sharing a photo of the same food on that day.
- Caption: Puns work great for food holidays! Name the dish that’s in the photo so that followers know what to order.
- Hashtags: If you forget to include the food holiday’s hashtag, then the post is pointless! Include several variations of the hashtag to make sure that your post gets in front of people searching various things. For example: #NationalDoughnutDay #DoughnutDay #NationalDonutDay #DonutDay #doughnut #donut #doughnuts #donuts
What: Re-sharing content related to your restaurant posted by customers and influencers.
Why is it important? Reposts make great content because they are easy and quick to produce. You can find them by seeing who tagged you. They also make customers feel special and add variety to your photos.
Anatomy of the repost:
- Photo: This is the easy part because you’ll be sharing someone else’s photo. Be selective about which photos you use and make sure they are up to your brand’s standards. Don’t let a blurry fan photo ruin your otherwise crisp aesthetic!
- Caption: You can either do a simple repost and quote the poster’s original caption or you can write your own caption - just remember to give credit where credit is due.
- Hashtags: Your city’s popular food and restaurant hashtags: #NYCfood, #nyceats, #torontofood, etc. Need inspiration? Check out what other hashtag local restaurants are using and copy them!
What: These posts show off your company culture by highlighting employees and giving customers a behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant.
Why is it important? Culture posts have many benefits. First, they make employees feel appreciated. Second, they are a good recruiting tool. Third, they help followers feel connected to the restaurant. It’s easier to create an emotional connection with a person than with food (although we know foodies who would disagree!).
Anatomy of the culture post:
- Photo: Share photos of your staff or behind the scenes shenanigans that customers don’t typically see.
- Caption: You can use the caption to introduce followers to key members of your team, share fun facts about employees (like the birth of a baby or the adoption of a puppy!), and highlight company wins.
- Hashtags and other tags: Your restaurant’s hashtags, and if relevant, tag the featured employee’s Instagram account. If you’re using the post to attract job candidates, include hashtags like #hiring, #restaurantjobs, #recruiting, etc. Geotag your location so that people in the local community will see your posts and maybe to work for you!
5. Promotions and deals
What: For most restaurants, day-to-day retail is just one revenue stream. Every once in a while, you should promote other revenue streams, like catering, happy hour, events, gift cards, delivery, etc.
Why is it important? Instagram, for restaurants, is a revenue driver. These posts let followers know what promotions, services, and products your restaurant offers.
Anatomy of the promotions and deals post:
- Photo: Start with a photo that’s relevant to the promotion and add text to it, so that followers get the gist of the deal while they’re scrolling through their feeds without having to read the caption.
- Caption: Keep the caption short and to the point. Describe the promotion and throw in some fun emojis so that the caption doesn’t read like an ad.
- Hashtags: Your restaurant’s hashtags, and hashtags relevant to the promotion: #happyhour, #giftcard, #delivery, etc. Your city’s hashtags: #bostonlunchdelivery, #cateringlondon, etc.
Instagram restaurant checklist: 5 posts your restaurant should be sharing on Instagram
Tired of sharing the same avocado toast photo on Instagram all day, every day? Instagram for restaurants can be fun—and successful—when you share an interesting mix of content. Write down, memorize, or take a screenshot of this restaurant Instagram marketing checklist and watch your likes and followers skyrocket!
- Food porn
- Food holidays
- Promotions and deals