Instagram Ideas for Restaurants

Instagram Ideas for Restaurants

When it comes to your brand’s Instagram, you always want to be switching up your content and posting new things.  This can present a bit of a challenge for places like restaurants, who tend to offer a small number of products within one product category.  Even if you feel like your restaurant has limited material to work with, there are some ways you can still make your Instagram presence strong!  Here are a few suggestions to step up your restaurant’s Instagram game.

Use Your Family and Friends as Models 

Close-up shots of your food are mouth-watering and fantastic to share, but you also want some variety in your grid.  Incorporating some lifestyle photos of people enjoying your food is a great way to switch things up while still keeping the focus on your offerings.  

The good news is, you don’t need to hire expensive professional models to get these shots.  If you have friends or family members who are comfortable enough in front of the camera, ask them to “model” for you.  You’ll get authentic-looking pictures and save lots of money on photography, while your friends will get their moment of fame and some free food to go along with it. 

Repost Customer Photos

Another great source of lifestyle content is from your customers.  People love taking pictures of their food and with their food, especially when they’re at a restaurant they particularly like.  If you can find a way to encourage your fans to take and share photos while they’re dining with you, you could find yourself with a gold mine of content for social media.  

Try promoting a hashtag customers can use to share their photos.  Post your social media handles around your restaurant, telling people to tag you in their content.  You could even run a monthly contest, offering a free meal or gift card to the best fan photo submitted each month. 

Go Beyond the Food 

Yes, you’re a restaurant, so your food and drinks are your bread and butter.  But that doesn’t mean that literally every single post has to feature your menu items.  Try branching out from time to time, even if it is only once or twice a month, and post something outside the realm of food.  

There are plenty of relevant topics you can post about that aren’t directly related to your food and drinks.  First, you can post about the town or neighborhood where you are located-anything that makes it unique, why you are proud to be located there, and things like that.  You can also post about the people behind the business.  Share stories about the owners and founders, traditions that have been passed down through generations, or highlight an employee of the month who is doing exemplary work.  Sprinkling in posts like these to your Instagram can help you connect with your audience in new and different ways.

Don’t Overdo It on Popular Dishes 

Every restaurant has them.  The popular dishes, the big moneymakers, the one thing that they’re most known for.  Of course, you want to capitalize on this on your social media channels.  If you serve a lasagna that is out of this world, don’t let your followers forget it!  

However, no matter what your most popular offerings are, be sure to post about all your other menu items too.  No matter how much your fans love your lasagna, they don’t just want to see the same pictures of it day after day.  Introduce variety into your feed by occasionally posting about your other dishes, even the ones that are not ordered as often.  Not only will it make your Instagram page as a whole look more appealing, but will also show your followers that you are not one-faceted, and hopefully even bring in some curious customers to try the other dishes you’re posting about.

Suggest Pairings 

Much of what you share on social media is an attempt to increase the number of sales you are making.  But you can also use your Instagram to encourage not only more sales, but larger sales as well.  Try making a few posts that suggest pairings for your followers to try.  Show them an appetizer that perfectly complements one of your entrees, or a bottle of wine that really brings out the flavor of one of your dishes.  Not only is this an opportunity to switch up the visuals on your page, by combining multiple offerings in one photo, but it also encourages customers to try multiple menu items together, instead of just ordering one thing.


Finally, go beyond the grid and stay active in your stories as well.  You don’t need carefully curated content and perfect-looking pictures to post on your stories.  Stories are a perfect place to try to engage more casually with your fans.  

Share a boomerang video of a full dining room during dinner service.  Take your audience step-by-step through the process of making your most popular dish.  Ask questions and post polls about your offerings, asking people which dishes they prefer, how they like to customize their orders, or what type of dish they’d like to see you add to the menu. Basically, just pique your audience’s interest and try to find a way to get them talking to you! 

None of the items above need to be too expensive or time-consuming for your restaurant to execute.  Dedicating just the small bit of extra time and dedication to your Instagram can really make a big difference. 

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