A Step-by-Step Guide to Manage Instagram for Restaurants

Eating out has become more than just food. With Instagram being one of the top social media platforms, the age-old trend of taking a picture of meals has been elevated. Eventually, it is becoming an integral part of restaurant success.

The current culture is that people take photos before they even take the first bite. In this era, having a presence on Instagram is pivotal for restaurants, cafes, and even street food vendors to build their brands and attract new customers.

Hence, if you own a restaurant, you must know the importance of having an Instagram account for restaurants and how to manage it properly. Ahead, we have compiled the complete information about managing Instagram for restaurants. Ready to dig in? Read on!

Why Do Restaurants Need Instagram?

Why Do Restaurants Need Instagram
Why Do Restaurants Need Instagram

Placing the 4th rank as the most active social media platform, Instagram has an enormous user base — at least 1.440 billion users are on Instagram right now in 2023. With this large number, it is no wonder that this platform has become a must-have for restaurants for marketing purposes.

Here are some of the reasons why restaurants need Instagram:

  • People love to capture and upload their food online, so having a presence on Instagram is a must.
  • You can use an Instagram page to showcase the restaurant’s signature dishes, promote special offers and discounts, provide behind-the-scenes updates and create an engaging community of users
  • Having an engaging Instagram page encourages customers to dine at the restaurant; not only will they receive great food, but they will also enjoy a memorable experience
  • An active social media presence keeps customers informed of all that’s happening at the restaurant, making them more likely to return and spreading the word about the business through likes, comments, and shares (free marketing!)
  • A strong presence on Instagram helps restaurants drive traffic to their website as well as attract customers in local areas

How To Manage Instagram Restaurants’ presence?

Here are the steps that you can take to manage your restaurant’s Instagram effectively:

Create your own Restaurant Hashtag

Create a Restaurant Hashtag
Create your own Restaurant Hashtag

Create a hashtag in the Instagram bio of your restaurant’s account that customers can use when posting photos about your place. This will help you keep track of user-generated content and give you an efficient way to manage your Instagram presence.

User-generated content is any photo taken by visitors. This content serves as an effective, lower-cost marketing strategy for a restaurant.

Using a hashtag lets visitors easily discover your page, engage with your content, and contribute by sharing their images.

Moreover, curating customer photos is a great way to showcase the genuine dining experience, build community, and drive more engagement for your restaurant on Instagram.

Use Food & Drink Social Media During Holidays

Use Food & Drink Social Media During Holidays
Use Food & Drink Social Media During Holidays

There is much room for creativity when crafting campaigns around food-themed social media holidays. Restaurants can jump on the bandwagon of social media holidays to make for an effective marketing strategy.

You can use events like #NationalCarbonaraDay or #NationalDonutDay to boost your restaurant’s reach — adjust it with your restaurant’s specialty. You can create content long before the day arrives and make a special Instagrammable menu to post on the day.

Using the hashtag also allows you to promote any special offers or menu items for the campaigns. In short, this strategy is great if you lack ideas, as it can be pre-planned.

Stick to a Feed Colour Palette

Stick to a Feed Colour Palette
Stick to a Feed Colour Palette

Whether it’s your plush pink couches, rustic dining room, or even brick walls, having a consistent color palette for your Instagram feed is important for maximum impact. Moreover, this is an era where restaurants compete to be the most Instagrammable.

Besides building a brand identity, a color-coordinated feed can be a huge wow factor when someone scrolls through or decides to follow your page. As a result, more users will visit your page — and maybe consider it one of the most Instagrammable restaurants!

Conversely, uncoordinated-looking content can make your profile look sloppy and unappealing — imagine a millennial-pink post next to a beige-themed one. Thus, focus on creating posts with the entire feed theme in mind, as this will help your page attract more users.

Create Story Highlights

Create Story Highlights
Create Story Highlights

Story highlights are a must for restaurant marketing on Instagram. Give visitors a one-click-away option to find out more about your restaurant by providing them with a menu-style layout on your profile.

This could include categories of your menu of delicious food, pricelists, team profiles, weekly specials, testimonials, or a few snaps of the dining room. You can adjust the categories according to what your restaurant wants to convey. With polished story highlights, visitors will most likely click the follow button immediately.

Another tip would be to create customized story highlight covers that are one-themed. This way, your page would look cleaner and more enticing.

Create a Memorable and Unique Brand Symbol

Create a Memorable and Unique Brand Symbol
Create a Memorable and Unique Brand Symbol

Logos matter; it grabs attention, separates you from the competition, and makes a strong impression. Hence, creating an Instagrammable restaurant logo associated with your restaurant can be a powerful marketing tool.

When customers post photos of your restaurant, they automatically become your restaurant’s brand ambassadors and eventually attract more people to visit.

This is a great approach to marketing for restaurants — the potential for virality is there, and it could just be the breakthrough you’ve been looking for.

Partner With Influencers & Food Bloggers

Partner With Influencers & Food Bloggers
Partner With Influencers & Food Bloggers

People love food; that’s why food bloggers and influencers have a huge niche market to promote on Instagram. Nowadays, there are thousands of food bloggers and influencers with different kinds of content.

Thus, working with social media influencers with an active and engaged audience in the same location as your restaurant can be an effective marketing tactic to reach a new group of potential customers.

When considering different influencers, it’s important to consider your budget and goal for the partnership. Food bloggers with a large following may charge for their posts or stories, while the micro-influencer ones may be willing to give you a shout-out in exchange for free food.

Run Competitions & Giveaways

Run Competitions & Giveaways
Run Competitions & Giveaways

Getting more followers and engagement on your Instagram can be challenging, but it’s possible to do it by running competitions and giveaways.

When launching campaigns, ensure you’re offering something valuable to your target audience in exchange for their attention. Choose prizes to spark excitement, draw attention to your brand, and create clear rules and conditions, so everyone knows the game’s requirements.

Promote the competition on Instagram by telling an engaging story and encouraging users to share their entries with friends. Also, don’t forget to closely monitor how users access, engage and respond to the competition to measure its success.

Photography Tip: Master the Flat Lay Shot

Master the Flat Lay Shot
Master the Flat Lay Shot

Most often used in styling, flat-lay shots are also a great way to take your Instagram marketing game to the next level. This highly adaptable shot is attractive to many people because it can tell stories in a simple, clear way.

To master the flat-lay shot, you can start by using a neutral background to create a tidy and professional look. Then, mix up your props by choosing items that are relevant to the theme of your post but vary in shape, size, and color.

After that, balance out colors with lighter tones and darker elements for a more interesting visual. You can use natural or adjustable lights to capture detail and create flattering tones. To add more variation, use inventive angles and different levels to make your flat lay stand out from the others.

It’s quite possible to master this shot in one attempt. Therefore, take some practice shots to perfect the pictures before showing off your work on Instagram.

Photography Tip: Good Lighting


Lighting has a huge impact on the quality of your food photos. It can make them stand out when you upload them on Instagram.

Ensure you understand different lighting techniques and find the one that works best, such as natural or adjustable lights.

Use the right light sources, angles, and shadows to create an amazing photo that speaks volumes about your restaurant. This way, you’ll make the users that stumble upon your post amazed by the quality of your photos.

Photography Tip: Composition


You should take the composition seriously since it offers as much significance as good lighting. After all, if a photo isn’t well composed, it won’t be eye-catching and may not give the impression you want to your users.

To compose visually appealing images for Instagram, you can start by using leading lines to draw the eye across the frame and lead the viewer to the photo’s subject. Then, incorporate interesting shapes and patterns into the photo for a more dynamic composition.

Also, opting for including foreground elements is a great idea to add depth and context to your photos. Plus, remember to keep an eye out for symmetrical compositions that provide balance and stability to an image.

Don’t just give up on the first try; experiment with different angles, perspectives, and framing techniques to tell your Instagrammable restaurants story engagingly!


Running a restaurant is hard enough, let alone marketing one on Instagram. Besides using SEO for Restaurants to improve online visibility, managing Instagram properly is also one of the best marketing strategies for restaurants.

But don’t worry; we’re here to help. Use our step-by-step guide above to ensure you’re managing your restaurant’s Instagram page like a pro. With these tips, you’ll be able to engage with your customers, grow your following, and promote your brand effectively on Instagram.

Andrea Abbondanza

Andrea Abbondanza, born in Milan (Italy) and now a proud Australian citizen, is a passionate food lover and the dynamic CEO of Seoforestaurants.com. With his rich culinary background and deep understanding of online marketing strategies, Andrea helps restaurants and cafes around the world elevate their online presence. His journey from Italy to Australia has infused his work with a unique blend of European flair and Aussie charm, making him a go-to resource for cafes and restaurants looking to elevate their digital presence and grow their businesses.

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Andrea Abbondanza is a passionate food lover and the CEO of Seo for Restaurants. With his rich culinary background and deep understanding of online marketing strategies, Andrea helps restaurants and cafes worldwide elevate their online presence and increase

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