Marketing Series (Part 2)

We Eat with Our Eyes


The restaurant industry is becoming increasingly competitive and it is crucial restaurants, chefs and dishes stand out in the crowd. Restaurateurs are also extremely busy so they must be strategic with time and resources. Social media is a great way to effectively communicate takeout offerings, unique selling points about delivery or engaging stories with customers. With 33.51 million social network users in Canada according to Statista, these platforms can get your message into the palm of diners’ hands. Now, it’s time to decide which apps are best for your brand and how to effectively use them day to day.

We eat with our eyes. Instagram and Facebook are perfect for sharing visual content; as opposed to Twitter which is more text based. Of course, a presence on additional platforms like TikTok can reach different audiences, but consistency is key. Posting a minimum 2-5 times a week is a must and restaurateurs should not spread themselves out too thin! When creating an Instagram account, for example, ensure the profile name is easy to find for your clients. Once your account is set up, add your handle to your menus, chalk boards or takeout bags. For the next steps, what should your restaurant post and how can you build more followers?

Focus on your food first. Food photographers are wonderful and can easily be found through a quick online search. However, photographers are costly and authentic images can truly resonate with consumers. Try taking your own photos! For cleaner results, remove clutter from tabletops or bars to allow dishes to stand out. Soft, natural light will create a more even shot with less contrasting shadows. Try new angles such as overhead to create a flat lay image to showcase a range of meal options. Another fun tip is using a unique feature in the restaurant like a tiled floor or a pop of colour from a wall background to brighten up a photo. Beyond the dishes, shooting images of the restaurant interiors, chefs and behind the scenes in the kitchen are always popular options. Now that your image content is created, catchy copy, relevant hashtags and exciting incentives can be used to further engage followers.

Hashtags can get your brand in front of more people and a little research goes a long way when it comes to learning what hashtags are trending in your area. Restaurateurs can also include hashtags in the comment section of the image to keep the spotlight on the photo. You can also encourage conversation through copy and run fun incentives like contests. Like, follow, tag a friend (make sure they follow!) and comment to win a gift card is an easy give-away to run for a social boost. As followers grow and engagement increases, remember to keep the conversation going. Respond to questions, repost user-generated content, add stories, reply to comments and engage on partner accounts as well. Social media is all about sharing!

Like anything, practice makes perfect. Social media is evolving and the more you use the platforms, the more familiar you become with all tools available. Hungry customers use apps like Instagram to discover new restaurants and new dishes to order for takeout. Make sure your restaurant is out there to find.