Reach those scrolling guests — 8 social media tips for restaurants

A man using a laptop in a restauant. He's wearing an apron. Behind him are three tables set with wine glasses and cutlery.
A man using a laptop in a restauant. He's wearing an apron. Behind him are three tables set with wine glasses and cutlery.
Photo: DinnerBooking/Restaurant Ribelli

Do you know many people who aren’t on social media? We’re guessing it’s not enough to count on two hands. Everyone is scrolling away on various feeds. That’s why you need a good social media strategy if you want to attract new guests and remind regulars why they love your restaurant!

So, what exactly is good content for social media? The best content tells an appealing and true story about your restaurant’s brand. Pictures of your tasty food, behind-the-scenes stories, videos from the kitchen and quotes from happy guests — there are many ways to build a solid social media presence.

Here are 8 tips to get you started or rebooted! 

1: Tell your restaurant’s story 

The entire point of establishing a social media presence for your restaurant is to make guests remember you. As humans, we’re much better at remembering something if there’s a story attached to it.  

Storytelling is as old as language and very much a part of how we experience the world. That’s why showing your restaurant from many different angles and sharing more than just food pictures is the best way to make sure you’re always somewhere in your guests’ minds.  

This doesn’t mean you have to write a novel. Your potential guests have too much scrolling to do. They don’t have time to read a bunch of text, but they still want to know more about your restaurant. 

You can give them your story in smaller bites, but make sure every bite counts and that it counts for the right thing. In other words, consider what you’re all about — what’s your mission, values, ideas, aesthetics and philosophy? 

In the next points on our list, we’ll show you how you can tell your restaurant’s story without sitting down for hours to pour words into a keyboard.  

2:  Meet our staff 

Woman in white shirt pouring a drink from a clear glass bottle.
Photo: Andrea Piacquadio

Your staff is your restaurant’s heart. Sharing stories about them is one of the best ways to give your restaurant a human face. It’s also a way to show your staff you appreciate them! 

Did you hire a new chef, waiter or dishwasher? Ask them if they’re up for a short presentation post on Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook — or all of them. If they say yes, take a couple of good pictures of them in action somewhere in your restaurant. Let them pick the photo they like the best and ask if they have a fun fact you can share in the post.  

The text can be something as short and sweet as this: 

Meet Fiona, our new waitress! If you want to know every single detail about the wines on our menu, she’s the one to ask. Fiona has worked as a grape picker in France where she has taken part in every step of the wine-making process. We’re so happy she decided to join our team. Drop by on Saturday if you want to say hi!  

Don’t forget to throw in a few emojis where it makes sense!

These kinds of posts don’t have to be limited to new hires. You can also share a fun fact about yourself or make a portrait of a staff member who’s been with you for years.

3: The magic behind the scenes

Successful magicians never reveal the secret behind their magic, but that’s not the case with restaurants. Guests will love to see what’s going on behind the scenes in your kitchen and bar.

Cooking videos are forever popular! Get out your smartphone or borrow one with a better camera from a colleague, and film the preparation of a new or popular dish. There are a ton of apps out there that let you edit your videos, so you end up with just a few mins of sharp kitchen content.  

Behind-the-scenes content doesn’t have to be limited to cooking videos. Other examples are videos and pictures of your entire staff preparing for your next restaurant event, unboxing shiny new equipment, your creative ways to reduce food waste or something else you feel like sharing.  

Team activities such as your yearly Christmas party, a birthday celebration in the kitchen or any other things you do together as a team are good as social media content. 

4: Guests want to see your food! 

The hand of someone holding a phone over a plate of food to take a picture.

Food, food, food…pictures of tasty dishes are right up there with cute cats and fluffy alpacas!

Delicious food is beautiful to look at, so don’t forget to snap a few pics of your best-looking dishes every week. That way you always have something to post in your social media feeds and stories.  

When you do this, remember that the light and whatever else is visible in the picture is important too.  

Are there crumbs on the surface, is your colleague’s phone on the table or is your own cup of coffee getting cold somewhere in the corner? Remove these before taking the picture or use the cropping function on your phone camera as a quick fix if you’ve already taken the picture.  

Natural light gives you the best results. If possible, place the food near a window and try to aim for indirect daylight. If the light isn’t quite right, play around with filters to improve your pictures.  

5:  Let guests be your content creators 

User-generated content is exactly what the name implies. It’s content that guests and influencers have shared about your restaurant. It’s the best, that’s what it is!  

Keep track of when guests tag you in a picture or in their story. Whenever that happens, and the post shows your restaurant from its best side, take the opportunity to share the post in your own feed or story. Remember to give the guest credit and let them know their love means a lot to you. 

User-generated content is fantastic marketing. You’ve probably noticed how popular online guest reviews are. This is because we all want to know how others experienced something before we decide whether it’s worth our time. 

When potential guests see that someone else enjoyed your restaurant’s food and service so much that they decided to share the experience with the world it’s like a stamp of approval. This is gold and often it makes as much of a difference as a great review in a newspaper’s food column.  

6: Keep the chat going

Nobody ever really understands the algorithms of Instagram and Facebook, but one thing that always seems to be true is that more engagement means more exposure!

When a guest writes a comment or question on one of your posts you can help boost your Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn reach by replying to them. And while gaining more social media exposure, you’re making your guest happy.

Another thing that’s great about this is that you show other guests that you care. This in turn encourages them to comment and to book more often at your restaurant. 

But what about the less positive comments? Guests who leave sour comments about cold food or long waiting times are out there too, and you’ll encounter them. Sometimes you’ll know they’re right, other times not. No matter what, the best strategy is to leave a short reply and let them know you’ll consider their thoughts.  

7:  Share your restaurant events 

A long wooden table set with plates, glasses, sliced bread on trays and many lit candles.
Photo: Rachel Claire Pexel

If you’re planning to host an event — a Halloween party, a wine tasting, a quiz or something else, your social media channels should be glowing with posts about your event. 

As soon as the date is set, and the tickets are up for grabs, you can start posting teasers for the event.  

Include your guests in the entire journey, let them know what they can look forward to, and encourage them to share your event with others. 

Consider sharing some live stories from your event on Instagram or Facebook. Live footage feels more intimate, it gets you closer to your followers, and they can respond to you here and now. When we interviewed Nimb in Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens, they told us how they do it. You can read the interview right here.

8: How often should I post?  

Aim to post at least 2-3 times each week to maintain and increase your number of followers.  

To make the task more manageable, consider asking a team member to help you manage your restaurant’s social media accounts. That’s also going to result in more varied and fresh content. That said, you want to keep it consistent and in line with your concept. Write a guide explaining how you do it or give them a crash course.  

If you need inspiration, take a scroll through the social media feeds of other restaurants. Look at their content and engagement, to figure out what might work for you.

Learning post by post

Figuring out which social media content hits the spot is something you’ll learn as you go. Test different things, and keep an eye on news about updates concerning trends on the different platforms. Things are changing fast, so don’t get discouraged if the engagement of your posts suddenly starts dropping. Often it’s simply Facebook or Instagram rolling out changes.

Social media is an opportunity to create a community feeling and to reach new guests near and far. In addition to being effective marketing, engaging with guests on social media will also remind you that what you’re doing is making a difference in people’s lives. Good food makes people happier, and you and your team are making this happen every day!