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From Plate to Pixel: Leveraging Social Media for Restaurant Success

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While online articles and news portals may provide accurate information, social media tells people stories of a lived experience. Thus, a strong presence on platforms like Instagram, X, Meta, etc., is no longer an enhancement but a necessity—especially when running a restaurant.

In the digital age, restaurants can no longer rely solely on the quality of their food; their online presence also plays a large role in attracting customers. Today’s competition demands that you showcase your menu to customers before they even walk into the restaurant. The best way to do this is to display your culinary creations on social media, where all the eyes and ears are.

Why is Social Media for Restaurants Important?

In today’s world, where most people use their phone as their primary consultant, having a solid social media presence will put your restaurant ahead of your competitors. According to SocialMediaToday, almost 30% of millennials actively avoid restaurants that lack a social media presence. With Gen Z entering the workforce, we can assume this divide will only increase. Moreover, the rise of influencers can be used to your advantage if you’re savvy with social media.

Having a social media presence builds trust with your audience. The images and videos you post online bring in new customers and help you retain your existing crowd. Social media grants you a much-needed digital stamp, automatically making them walk in through your door. More importantly, people dining at your restaurant get a more sensory experience than just reading reviews from a website.

Understanding before implementation

According to, 5700 tweets and 694 Instagram posts get uploaded online every second. Entering the social media sphere is like diving into an ever-growing ocean. Social media algorithms across the various platforms show users targeted content, so how do you make sure you’re on their feeds? Make sure you post food-related content to reach foodies, and if you want to go the extra mile, you can contact influencers to post your restaurant so their followers can find out about it as well.

While that method can be effective for some, not everyone achieves their results by copying what’s trending. Once a restaurant’s page starts gaining traction, they add their flavors and create something new. However, what should you be posting on your social media pages?

Serving the right things to your customers

Following what’s trending gives you an idea of the format of the presentation, but knowing what to post is equally important. Your photos and videos can recommend the following to your customers:

  • A sweet treat
  • Something to satisfy their weekly spicy food cravings
  • Your signature dish

You can also experiment with special menus for a specific week, season, festival, occasion, etc. Telling your customers about a sale or an offer via social media also plays a significant role.

The most important thing to remember is that your restaurant page should regularly upload new content. You can create a schedule and even automate when your posts go public, but make sure you aren’t bombarding people’s feeds since that can turn them away from your restaurant.

Bringing the influencers to influence

Social media influencers, especially food vloggers, have a lot of authority in defining the image of any restaurant. Collaborating with these influencers can prove to be as important as the review of a culinary expert. Instead of waiting to be discovered online, these influencers bring their audience to your doorstep. Collaboration with social media influencers and food vloggers can be executed in multiple ways:

  • You can choose which influencer to target based on their following, location and other factors directly affecting your restaurant.
  • You can also work with multiple influencers to reach a larger audience
  • You may also choose a middle path where you partner with one or two prolific influencers while also getting the services of some smaller ones.

Get your customers on board with the promotion.

Social media promotions are a great way to get customers in your door. Whether they’re new or your regulars, everyone loves a good deal. Several restaurants, pubs, and cafes actively get their diners involved in social media promotion:

  • Many restaurants have a dedicated selfie point highlighting their ambiance in the best ways possible, attracting even more customers.
  • Several small and non-digital things, like reviews on sticky notes, can also be posted on social media.

These posts are more likely to get comments, which feed the algorithm and allow your restaurant to shine more.

Making the most of social media features

While you can post absolutely anything and everything on social media, being mindful of what goes where is essential. Apps like Instagram have a separate section for videos, allowing you to create story highlights. Similarly, Meta allows you to create photo albums of different aspects of your restaurant.

You can maximize how long customers spend on your page by deciding what a photo and a video are. Categorizing and organizing your posts can ensure your audience can find exactly what they’re looking for on your page. For example, you may have:

  • A section for the ambiance,
  • A section for your top dishes,
  • A section for live cooking,
  • A section dedicated to customer experience and much more.

You can also use page call-to-action (CTA) features by redirecting them to your website. This way, new and existing diners can easily make reservations or ask your staff any questions.

Getting the visibility your restaurant needs

Social media is free to use, but it is also a business. While many restaurants follow almost all of the steps mentioned above, they avoid investing in getting paid promotions for their restaurants. This makes their page reliant on organic discovery or entirely on the efforts of social media influencers. While getting discovered this way is possible, the odds are not very high.

The algorithms on social media platforms actively favor pages that run paid promotions. These restaurants get a broader push and, hence, more visibility. While you may choose not to run a paid promotion, your competitors gain an advantage simply by availing of this service.


Social media can quickly increase your restaurant’s exposure. It increases the likelihood of people frequenting your restaurants or even placing orders for home deliveries. While your dishes will be the key to retaining your customers, social media presence puts your restaurant on the map.

Partnering with social media influencers extends your reach past just your average audience. This will also enable you to attract customers visiting your city who would love to experience your page’s hype online.

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