How to Market Your Restaurant or Cafe on Instagram

restaurant instagram marketing

Instagram is the ultimate social media platform for marketing your restaurant or cafe. It offers a cheap, yet effective platform to showcase your brand.

To the millennials, a visit to a restaurant or cafe is incomplete without capturing the dishes they are about to consume. These pictures then find their way on Instagram along with a trail of hashtags and a description of the cafe or restaurant. Thanks to Instagram, half your job is done with such posts featuring your cafe/restaurant.

As people are becoming more and more social media savvy, they are using Instagram to know more about your restaurant or cafe. Most of your prospective customers will first look at your Instagram profile before making a visit. Tempt your prospective customers by posting pictures of delicious delicacies from your menu, on your Instagram feed.  There are so many ways by which you can leverage Instagram marketing for restaurants.

To put it simply, Instagram offers your enormous scope to market your business and you too can tap into this potential. We have put together a comprehensive guide on how you can make the most of Instagram marketing for business. Go through these simple tips and tricks to take your restaurant marketing to the next level.

A Guide To Instagram Marketing For Restaurants

1. Showcase All The Elements Of Your Restaurant Or Cafe

From restaurant interiors to menu to your kitchen and even your staff, your Instagram feed should capture all these elements. Offer not just a glimpse but an entire tour around your restaurant. Besides the beautifully put together platings of the food, your ambiance also plays a role in attracting people to your restaurant. Take pictures of your interiors, the decor, the entrance, your kitchen, the tables and any other spots that stand out.

Instagram food posts

Carefully plate and capture all your dishes. Post them on Instagram with the respective names. Feature special ingredients, techniques, and other such unique elements in your content. Added new items to your menu? Why not announce it on Instagram using a content post as well as a story?

One of the most important elements of your restaurant is your staff. Showcase the kitchen staff, managerial staff and the waiting staff on Instagram profile to show the human side of your restaurant brand.

You can upload Instagram videos of a duration of not more than a minute. Use this space to show a time-lapsed version of preparation of dishes, for instance. Shoot high quality videos with clear coverage of your ingredients as well as the process of preparation.

2. Post User-Generated Content

Add user generated content on your Instagram feed. People love to capture their restaurant meals and share it on their Instagram feed. Enable geotagging for your restaurant so that people can add the location to your restaurant in their Instagram posts. This way you can easily find all the pictures captured at your restaurant, select and post them on your Instagram account.

Always ask for permission before sharing their content on your profile.  Whether it is a story or a photo/ video post featuring your restaurant, don’t forget to add a thank you note for your customer with every mention.

User-generated content works like word-of-mouth. The more people see content featuring your restaurant, the more there are chances that they will want to give your restaurant a try. User-generated content also helps increase brand awareness and credibility. It enhances engagement on the platform as well.

3. Work With F&B Influencers

Food bloggers, food photographers, and stylists are all niche experts in the field. Find F&B Influencers that have a big audience base of their own and also boast of string content creation skills.

Food stylists and photographers have the aesthetic sense to present your dishes in the best possible manner. Food bloggers are also well versed with clicking good quality pictures using all the backdrops and props to add to the frame. Partner with food bloggers and stylists to create a visual catalog of your menu on Instagram and tempt your customers to try it.

You can also ask them to conduct food reviews for your restaurant. Look out for food bloggers and other Influencers in the field, on Instagram and invite them to taste different dishes off your menu. Most of these bloggers and Influencers will cover your restaurant or cafe on their Instagram account, allowing for more reach and publicity. Just like user-generated content, you can share content posted by Influencers and food bloggers on your Instagram account.

4. Keep Your Hashtag Game Strong

Using hashtags is very important for Instagram marketing for restaurants. These are the ultimate discoverability tools on Instagram and you can add up to 30 of them on an Instagram post.

Add broad as well as narrow, brand-centric hashtags for your content.

What are the bestsellers on your menu? Which are your specialties? Frame hashtags with inspiration from your restaurant menu, as well.You can use a #ramen, #tacos or #pizza hashtag with your content.

Avoid using very basic and broad hashtags such as #Food, #Tasty or #Foodporn. This will only lead your post to get lost in a huge pool of content. You can use more specific hashtags. Try to inculcate location based hashtags such as #BangkokFood or #NewYorkFood with your content.

You can place your hashtags’ set either within the description or as the first comment on your post as well.

5. Create Short And Catchy Instagram Copies

Using Instagram for restaurant also involves writing out descriptions or copies for your visual content. While your visual content featuring food and other restaurant elements will do the talking for you, it is also important to support your photos with descriptions and copies.

Make sure to add copies that complement the visuals. Describe the corresponding image. Invoke your audience’s senses by describing the different components, ingredients or elements of the dish. Use light humor wherever possible and add funny quotes where you can.

6. Post During Audience Peak Activity

What is the point of putting in all the time and effort, when half your target audience is not even seeing your content?

An important part of using Instagram for cafe is to post at the audience peak activity team. Find out the days and times during which your audience is most active on the platform. Schedule and post your content accordingly.

Want to know the best time to post content on Instagram? Here’s a quick guide on the ideal time to post your content on Instagram.

7. Use Instagram Stories

Leverage Instagram stories to create every-day content. Cover all the daily happenings at your restaurant using Instagram stories. This will help your audience become a part of your journey and always feel connected with your brand. You can use Instagram stories to showcase recipe preparations as well.

Instagram stories for restaurants


This restaurant has used Instagram stories to capture a preview of the Spring/summer menu, for instance. You can cover your daily rituals and happenings at the restaurants. Show small clips of a ‘Typical Day at *name of restaurant/cafe*”.

Build a strong relationship with your audience using Instagram stories.

8. Use Instagram Live

Whether you are hosting a special event or a pop-up with a special guest, use Instagram live to it. Make your audience feel a part of your community by showcasing events, live.

Hosting a cooking class by an in-house chef or a guest chef? Cover it using Instagram live. Bring your team of chefs to host short Q&A sessions on Instagram about recipe hacks and ideas. Instagram live helps to increase real-time engagement, while also allowing you to build a stronger connection with your audience.

Next time you host any event, whether it is a performance by a band or a pop-up set at your restaurant or cafe, stream it live on Instagram.

9. Use Instagram Ads

Instagram Ads are a great way to market your restaurant on the platform. Sponsored content and Ads on Instagram allow for sure-shot reach to your target audience.

Instagram Ads come in multiple formats, from simple photo Ads to videos, carousel Ads and story Ads. You can use Ads to showcase your dishes and highlight special offers and discounts.

Instagram Ads are a good way to build a buzz around a special event or a special festive meal at your restaurant.

Don’t forget to add relevant calls to action in your Ad copies. Use Instagram Ads to increase brand awareness, promote your schemes and offers, and drive engagement.

10. Track Your Performance On Instagram

A proper plan on Instagram marketing for restaurant is incomplete without measuring audience response on all your marketing efforts. A lot goes into Instagram marketing in terms of money, time and efforts. If you are not capturing and monitoring your Instagram metrics, you are only aiming for a shot in the dark. Even if your follower base is expanding, those numbers are not enough to measure your return on investment.

With a social media reporting tool like Unbox Social, you can capture all the important data on your performance on Instagram. Monitor your engagement levels, reach, topmost posts, story metrics and important insights on your audience using this tool. Once you know how your performance across these platforms is, you can make modifications and changes to your Instagram marketing strategy. What kind of content is working for you and what is not? Let these aspects dictate your future Instagram posting strategies.


Instagram is a great platform for the F&B industry. With the visually-oriented platform of Instagram, you can do a lot to market your restaurant or cafe.

Here are a few tips on how you can leverage Instagram marketing for restaurant:

  • Use Instagram to show all the important elements of your restaurant or cafe- from your food to interiors to your staff
  • Add user-generated content to your feed
  • Collaborate or work with food bloggers, stylists, and Influencers from the F&B world
  • Build a strong hashtag game on Instagram by using broad as well as narrow hashtags relevant to your content
  • Use captions that complement your visual content
  • Post content during the audience peak activity period to enhance your Instagram reach
  • Leverage Instagram stories to create diverse, creative content
  • Go live on Instagram to capture events or host informative sessions
  • Invest in Instagram Ads as a sure shot way to reach your audience
  • Monitor your performance on Instagram using a social media analytics tool
Sign up for a demo

Liked this blog? You're going to like our platform all the more. Sign up and we'll setup a custom demo for you.

Related Posts

Begin typing your search above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top