Skip to Main Content
Select A Store
Blog Menu
Restaurant (186)
Operations (63)
COVID (13)
Trends (41)
Technology (24)
Staffing (13)
Pop-Ups (9)
Budget (16)
Home Cook (46)
Tips (23)
Family (11)
Nutrition (9)
Holidays (3)
Recipes (48)
Entree (21)
Side-Dish (7)
Appetizer (10)
Beverage (3)
Breakfast (2)
Dessert (5)

Marketing Guide: Instagram for Restaurants

Back Print

September 16, 2022

It is no secret that social media is a prominent aspect of our everyday lives. Some data shows that we spend 15 percent of our lives scrolling through social media. When added up, that’s 10 billion hours (about 1,100,000 years) globally! Restaurant owners can reach a broad audience with a well-curated and professional presence on many social platforms, particularly Instagram, which is in the top-five most used platforms.. If you are new to the platform, we explain brand exposure on the digital sharing platform below.

Instagram Basics for Restaurant Marketing

Instagram’s advertising scope grew 12.8 percent over the past year and now reaches roughly 1 billion users each month. What started as a photo-sharing platform has grown to be one of the most used apps daily because of its ease of use, accessibility, and the overall experience it creates for users. Instagram is necessary for any restaurant wanting to entice guests to its establishment. Plus, most of their features are free, so you don’t have to drop a lot of cash into your advertising budget.

We all know the adage: we eat with our eyes first. That philosophy reigns supreme on social media, especially Instagram. Creating an Instagram account allows owners to highlight impactful images of delicious dishes. However, Instagram also gives restaurants the opportunity to engage with their customers before and after their visit. To gain the most followers, use these tips when posting.

Showcase your best images

Instagram followers look for eye-catching photos. To keep people from scrolling past your posts, displaying dynamic pictures is essential. You want to capture the delectable essence of your plates, so make sure you take professional-looking pics highlighting the beauty of your composed dishes.

Are you a novice photographer? Don’t worry! Instagram offers a variety of filters to enhance lighting. There are also editing tools to help craft beautiful posts. Instagram also recommends the following to catch followers’ attention:

  • Fill the frame: Posting pics that take up the whole frame tends to stand out more. Also, consider a vertical orientation.
  • Play around with video and reel techniques: Add some pizzazz to your reels with fun borders to animated elements. 
  • Use audio elements: Music and voiceovers lend a more profound sense of your company culture and brand identity. 

Pro Tip: The time and date you post affect how well your content performs on Instagram. Utilize this free tool from Sprout Social to get a detailed understanding of when the best times are for your business.

Don’t Stop at Food Pics

While potential diners want to see stunning photos of your menu items, they also want a glimpse of your ambiance. Take great pictures of your dining area and post those alongside your dishes. Also, include pics and videos of your kitchen and service team to introduce your crew to diners. 

Creating story highlights showing off some behind-the-scenes action or sharing aspects of your company culture can improve brand recognition and boost your company image.

Develop a Branded Hashtag

Unique, brand-specific hashtags can drive customers to your Instagram account. They promote brand identity, help run social media campaigns, and encourage user-generated content. Creating a branded hashtag also allows owners to analyze consumer traffic and get a keen sense of what diners respond to. To create a successful hashtag: 

  • Make sure it is exclusive to your brand 
  • Keep it easy to read 
  • Follow your hashtag to track content 

Interact with Your Followers

Instagram’s algorithm responds well to consumer engagement. Responding to reviews, cross-promoting a neighborhood business, offering rewards to followers, and including restaurant specific action buttons like "Order Food” increase the activity on your account. The more action, the more likely Insta is to show more of your posts to more followers. This, in turn, can boost activity outside your existing fan base, leading to greater reach.

Shout Out to Food Holidays

Food holidays are a fun way to celebrate culinary culture and connect with followers. Highlighting these special times throughout the year is a great way to drive engagement and seasonal offerings at your restaurant. Create a calendar of exciting or relevant food days and post content with the corresponding hashtag.

Take Advantage of Business Tools from US Foods CHEF’STORE

At CHEF’STORE, we are more than our community's go-to bulk food supply store for exceptional products. We also offer helpful business resources like website design, staff training, and more. If you want to expand brand awareness and save on kitchen essentials, stop by one of our many locations today.


Steps to create your restaurant's Instagram account.

The information materials and opinions contained in this blog/website are for general information purposes only, are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. We make no warranties, representations, or undertakings about any of the content of this blog/website (including, without limitation, as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content).

Related Blogs