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instagram marketing for restaurants

Instagram marketing is the modern way to promote brands and businesses. As a visual marketing platform, Instagram is a great platform for restaurants to showcase their atmosphere, menu items, and also happy customers or reviews. This article will cover anything you need to know about how to use Instagram as a marketing platform for restaurants.

The Rapid Growth of Instagram Marketing

Based on eMarketer data, more than 1 billion people use Instagram every month and they have an equal percentage of users both males and females. 81% of users are searching for products and services on Instagram and around 130 million users tap on shopping posts every month. Those businesses and brands who linked their Instagram profile to their websites also got more visitors.

Tips to Utilize Instagram Marketing for Restaurants 

There are many things you can do to use Instagram as a marketing platform to promote your restaurants. Instagram has several great features to maximize your marketing strategy. Let’s see one by one and look at how you can turn the plates to the good value of loyal customers and money.

Instagram Stories and Highlights

Instagram stories are the feature that makes your Instagram account alive! People will come into your Instagram profile and when the stories are updated every day, they will know that the account is active! One example is the Instagram account of The Capital Grille.


Try uploading as many stories as possible about your food and restaurant or café, show people how your food looks and how your restaurant or café looks. This will let people know how fabulous your restaurant and food are. 

Another strategy related to Instagram stories is to create Story Highlights. Story highlights can help people who visit your Instagram page to see what kind of food you are providing and how’s the atmosphere of your restaurants.


Story highlights keep your Instagram stories trackable since the stories will only last for 24 hours.

Hashtags Power

Some social media experts claimed that hashtags are no longer powerful as the way they was. However, hashtags are still useful to ‘mark’ your brand. Hashtags still can help to increase traffic. Make sure to have particular hashtags in your posts. Learn How to Use Instagram Hashtags here and nail it! See how Caviarinspirations use relevant hashtags about dishes with caviar in it.


Keep in mind that all the hashtags are relevant to your niche, your brand identity or brand voice, and the posts. Demographic hashtags such as city, country, and area can also be great because it will help local people to see your post.

Work with Food Blogger or Influencers

 Collaborating with popular or influential food bloggers or influencers on Instagram will absolutely be a great idea for your Instagram restaurant marketing! Make sure to get connected with the influencers or bloggers that matched with your brand style or brand voice so they will wrap the post about your restaurant beautifully. See How to Pick the Perfect Influencer for Your Brand for further understanding.


One example is the post from Jo Yee. The food bloggers or influencers can do a review of one of your best dish when you invite them to your restaurant, showing how your superstar kitchen team preparing the food, or do food challenges through their accounts and then tag and mention your restaurant’s Instagram account. This collaboration will help your brand to reach a wider audience and make your restaurant more visible online.

Post User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content has been proven as one of the powerful marketing strategies to increase brand awareness. More than that, you can listen to what the audiences said about your restaurant in their Instagram posts. See one of the posts about Stoney Street from one of their customer who spent a great time there.


When posting UGC, make sure to use a brand hashtag that encourages customers to use it when visiting your restaurant. Keep in mind that you need to enable geotagging for your restaurant so that people can add the location in their Instagram posts. See? Instagram marketing for your restaurant without even investing a penny!

Use Food & Beverage Social Media Holidays

We know several food and beverage social media holidays such as #WorldVeganDay, #NationalPizzaDay, #NationalDrinkWineDay, and many more. This Instagram marketing strategy works for any kind of restaurant! The post itself doesn’t have to be specifically food image. Any relevant high-quality image will work. See the example from AJ’s Kitchen Drawer below.


Use the hashtags of food and beverage social media holidays in those particular dates and run some Instagram contests or campaigns that will attract people to join. Choose the commemorative days and events that are relevant to your restaurant, not only the food and beverage social media holidays but also something like #ValentinesDay or #MothersDay.

Post During Audience Peak Activity

What is the point of hustling, when half your target audience isn’t seeing your content?  Posting during peak activity will give your post more reach, impressions, and engagement since that’s the time when your audiences are the most active on Instagram.


Every account has a different peak activity time. Dig deep into Instagram Analytics to know when is the best time to post based on your data. Instagram Analytics can only be accessed by an Instagram business account, so make sure your account is already a business account.

Go Live!

Instagram has a fantastic feature called Instagram Live. Instagram Live allows you to go live and engage with the audiences in real-time. Make sure to plan your Instagram Live well so the audiences will not watch a random live session thought that they are wasting their time.

Any topics that can be covered through Instagram Live such as a virtual tour around the restaurants including how the food is prepared or a Q&A with the chef or with the customers who dine in. Instagram Live can help you to have an actual conversation with your audiences and they can have a great experience interacting with you through it.

Keep An Eye on Instagram Inbox

Always keep an eye on your DMs (direct messages). DMs can be the place where you build a personal interaction with your customers. Through DMs, the customers can learn about your brand and even provide great feedback that will improve your business!

Make the most of Instagram Reels

Reels are the newest feature from Instagram that lets users record a short video. Some ideas like funny reels with your chefs or how to make some special dishes can attract people. Plus, these are free of cost!

How Instagram Features Help to Market Your Brand 

Instagram allows user to promote their brands and businesses and increase brand awareness. The platform makes it possible to do marketing in a friendly and authentic way that is far from hard selling (we’re not saying hard selling is bad, tho!)

With all the features provided by Instagram, make the most of it by doing these things:

  1. Create a professional Instagram account or business account
  2. Fill in the account details wisely including choosing a username and profile picture that portrays your brand or business
  3. Write a fantastic and keyword-optimized bio
  4. Make sure to keep the account public
  5. Add a link to your email or phone number; it’s better if it’s a company email and phone number of your restaurant

How Instagram Advertising Can Come in Handy

Instagram ads can be an option in your restaurant marketing strategy. Such ads allow the user to promote the restaurant for more immediate ROI. The ads will look just like regular Instagram posts but what will be different is the ‘Sponsored’ label on them. If you need help creating a stunning image, use an Instagram post maker to stand out in the timeline. 

How much do the Instagram ads cost? 

We cannot say how much do they cost, as it depends on various factors which include targeting, placement, format, and time of year. However, based on the finding of AdEspresso, the average cost per click for most ad placements was around $1.20.

There are many types of Instagram Ads you can choose if you decide to use it.

  1. Stories ads: Instagram Stories Ads are full-screen ads that appear between users’ Stories 
  2. Carousel ads: Carousel ads let users swipe through a series of images or videos with a call-to-action button to connect them directly to your website 
  3. Photo ads: Photo ads allow brands to showcase products and services through compelling images 
  4. Video ads: Video ads can be up to one minute long, which helps the user to have a better look at your restaurant) 
  5. Instagram Shopping ads: Instagram Shopping ads take shoppers directly to a product description page within the Instagram app 
  6. IGTV ads: Instagram didn’t release these ads, it is about releases this year. 
  7. Explore ads: Explore is the Instagram screen where users discover new content and accounts 
  8. Collection ads: Collection ads allows e-commerce features to your ads 


Instagram marketing for restaurants is not as complicated as imagined. As long as you know how to make the most of the features that are already provided by the platform. Hopefully, all the details that have been shared above can guide any of you who use Instagram to promoting restaurants and get the result as expected. Patience is a virtue. Instagram Marketing will not give anyone the result as expected in one night. Keep doing your best and be the marketing expert of your own business.. All the best!

Picture of Tirza N

Tirza N

Tirza is an advertiser, human rights advocate, and dancer. She is passionate about creating creative content and arts. She is a lifetime learner and always goes beyond her limit.

Tirza N

Tirza is an advertiser, human rights advocate, and dancer. She is passionate about creating creative content and arts. She is a lifetime learner and always goes beyond her limit.
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