using instagram in a restaurant

In other words, how to own the most important social media network for restaurants.

Instagram. The platform of photos and what is – in my opinion – the best social media platform for restaurants. Because of the visual-nature of this channel, we’ve seen tons of restaurants flock to it, expecting their guests to follow in masses. But the thing is, to get the massive following, the pictures you post need to be as good as the food you serve.

Here are some tips to get you there:

What To Post


  • Relevant #hashtags: Hashtags are the key to getting your photos discovered by fellow instagrammers looking for that type of photo. Whether they’re looking for that specific dish at a restaurant, are exploring a certain style on Instagram, or just checking out other photos like ones they posted. Using the right hashtags = getting discovered.
  • User-generated content: Let’s be honest – sometimes your guests take way better photos than you. I mean you’ve got a restaurant to run, so you’re busy. Simply comment on their photos and ask if they mind if you share it on your page. Chances are they’ll be honored you’re checking it out!
  • #FoodPorn: Very likely, people follow you because they’ve either been to your restaurant and had an awesome experience or it’s on their list of places to hit. Give them reasons to come back by showing them how delicious your food is. Get a unique angle or up close shot to get that double tap.
  • Behind the scenes shots: Mix up your mouthwatering food photos with interesting shots of your staff behind the scenes. Whether it’s the owners brainstorming a new menu, the bartender making his classic drink, or the chefs high-fiving in the back of the kitchen. Showing the humans that make your restaurant what it is adds a nice element to your feed.


What Not To Post

    • Over “promotionalized” images: People are on Instagram to see pictures of your food. Save the promotions and text-heavy image posts for Facebook or Twitter.
    • Flash No Flash! An Instagrammer’s worst nightmare is being forced to take a photo in a dark space. Using flash on smartphones often gives food a harsh look that doesn’t represent how delicious it looks in real life.


  • Over-filtered: Instagram has some awesome filters but it’s easy to go overboard. Especially when you’re photographing food, the natural colors from the ingredients and dishware should speak for itself. The last thing you want to do is make your amazing dish look fake.
  • Too much: Respect your followers and don’t post more than 2-3 times per day. Instagram is about quality over quantity. Save those other great photos for the rest of the week. On the flip side- don’t neglect your following. Make sure you’re posting consistently to give your your audience their daily dose. This also helps with the new Instagram algorithm (Check out our latest #WhiteBoardWednesday video to check out the new changes).


Want more Instagram inspiration? Check out our amazing Instagram Marketing eBook for tons of actionable tips to take your presence to the next level and get more gram-loving guests through your door.

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