How to Market Your Restaurant to a Social Media Audience

Are you considering, or have already opened, a restaurant? The business loan came through, you’ve got your team, you’ve been dreaming of the menu since you were a kid, probably, now it’s just time for people to know about it. 

But do you know what you’re doing there? The skills of a restaurant owner, or a chef, and a marketing executive don’t tend to overlap too much. But maybe you’ve got a small establishment, you’re only just starting, and hiring a marketing team isn’t feasible right now. 

It’s a good thing then that social media marketing is almost free, very instinctive to even the most basic of social media user and is highly effective. And if you know what you’re doing, you can do better than most of the social media accounts around small businesses you see and elevate yourself to the must-see restaurant in town. Read our guide to see how you can market your restaurant right. 

Show your authenticity

There has been a definite shift in attitude towards the idea of influencers in later days. Or should we say, “big influencers”. The wider userbase is getting tired of the vapid and “fake” look of the biggest Instagram influencers. They’ve been caught in too many scandals, they’re committing too many crimes, scamming too many followers, and emitting to many negative messages. 

Which is why you’ll hear a lot about users looking for “authenticity” in who they follow nowadays. The rise of TikTok was a big player in this. Suddenly creators were not even getting out of bed to make their content. They’d start a point by saying “Excuse my bed head” while filming with a phone camera that makes TikToks look like true crime footage from the 80s. 

If you are a brand of any type, you’ll want to lean into authenticity. TikTok is very good for restaurants, where you can show off you’re beautifully decorated premises and mouth-watering food, but you can also show off your team and their antics, the things you do to show customers you care, the events you want to get involved in, etc. 

Show your principles

Social media users have changed over the past few years. They are not only buying but finding exactly what they want on social media. Whether it’s due to an algorithm or an organic hunt through social media, users are particularly looking for days out that they can implement. This means, they’re looking for restaurants, cafes, bars, etc. that will offer them a new experience. 

However, they’re not just going to give their business to anyone. Users today have become a lot more particular about what they will support with their wallets. This means they are researching everything from the company who made their toothpaste to where they eat and drink. 

There is a lot of ways you can keep them on your side. These users are big fans of the environment, inclusivity, and affordability. Show off everything you do for a better tomorrow, whether that’s vegan or allergy options on the menu, sustainable business operations, a diverse team, or your stellar prices, show that you are thinking of more than your business. 

Show off any skills/events

There is a lot that a restaurant, café, bar, club can accommodate, so don’t just limit yourself to food and drink. You can host events, which your team can put together. 

For example, you can look into upping the skills of your wait staff with a set of bar management skills. Not only will you have someone who can look after the bar, but you can add some cocktail mixing to their skills and attract customers with fruity cocktails made right in front of them as some entertainment. 

Other ideas can include singles night, quizzes, music events, etc. Depending on the niche you’re aiming for, you can have a guy with a guitar or a piano player. Play to your niche’s strengths and offer users something more than the food to latch onto. Some bars offer arcade games, some high dining experiences offer a live band and dancefloor. Anything that makes your establishment stand out from the rest will be a treat on social media. 

Show off your partners

It takes a village to raise a baby, and when your baby is a restaurant, it takes a city. You’re obviously getting your produce from somewhere, your culinary talents from somewhere, your menu inspiration, your interior design inspiration and work, your handy men who solve all your emergency problems, etc. 

Curated content is a big lifesaver in social media marketing. It’s simple to use so you can fill a gap in your content calendar without too much panic, but it’s also very beneficial to you and your “partners”.

Essentially curated content is a shoutout. Show off who you’re working for and who you would recommend, and you and your partner will share audience members back and forth. And it works both ways. You can send them a piece of content and have them say that they had the town’s best sandwich at your place, attracting everyone who follows them. 

Show off your followers

Another marketing tactic is user-generated content – and it’s exactly what it sounds like. It will be easier than most businesses for a restaurant, café or bar to gain user-generated content, because no one’s asking permission. Everyone wants to share where they’ve been and what they’ve been doing on their day/night out. 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage them. Ask your audience what their favourite item on the menu is, what’s their best memory of the place, what their favourite photo of the premises is, and post the “winners” on your social media accounts. Anyone looking to expand their following will want the spotlight, and followers just appreciate getting recognised, which means you could end up with heaps of content at your disposal as more people send stuff in. 

Show off your data knowledge

The final tip is the boring one: learn all you can about data. Online marketing can survive without data, but it can’t thrive. You want your marketing campaign to thrive, so look up analytics, SEO, keyword research and much more to make your restaurant be on the tip of everyone’s lips. 


Alex is a small business blogger with a focus on entrepreneurship and growth. With over 5 years of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Alex has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, approachable and entrepreneurial-minded blogger. He has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners, and is able to provide actionable advice and strategies for success. Alex has interviewed successful entrepreneurs, and covered major small business events such as the Small Business Expo and the Inc. 500|5000 conference. He is also a successful entrepreneur himself, having started and grown several small businesses in different industries.