From Plate to Pixel: Instagram Stories for Restaurants

In a world brimming with delectable culinary creations, it takes more than just mouth-watering dishes to captivate an audience. Enter Instagram stories, the powerful tool that has revolutionized how restaurants engage with their patrons.

Gone are the days of static food photography; now, restaurants have the opportunity to transport their audience into a sensory wonderland with every tap and swipe.

Learn more about how Instagram stories have become the ultimate platform for showcasing the visual delights that await within your restaurant’s doors!

What are Instagram Stories Used For?

A smartphone displaying the Instagram app logo
A smartphone displaying the Instagram app logo

From a restaurant business perspective, Instagram stories can be used to improve brand visibility, allowing them to showcase their menus and services in a visually compelling way.

The interactive features such as stickers, polls, and AR filters add an element of fun and interactivity, making the content more engaging for viewers.

Moreover, Instagram stories provide an opportunity to reach a new audience and generate leads, as well as receive instant feedback on new menus or promotions.

Additionally, restaurants can leverage stories to share user-generated content and customer photos, enhancing the sense of community and authenticity surrounding their brand.

With the feature to share photos and videos that run out after 24 hours, Instagram stories offer a sense of urgency and exclusivity, making them an effective tool for promoting limited-time deals or highlighting current sales.

Restaurant Instagram Story Ideas

If your restaurant wants to utilize Instagram stories to the fullest, follow these creative ideas!

Take Customers Behind the Scenes

Two restaurant staff
Two restaurant staff

One particularly effective IG stories approach is taking customers behind the scenes, offering a glimpse into the inner workings of the restaurant and the people who make it all happen.

By sharing behind-the-scenes moments, restaurants can captivate their audience with visual delights and create a sense of authenticity that resonates with customers.

For example, you could introduce your chefs and staff, share an exclusive episode of a day in the life of your staff, or even show how ingredients are sourced locally.

Utilize Instagram stories’ features, such as boomerang, layout, hands-free videos, and more.

The Swipe Up Feature

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The swipe-up feature on Instagram stories is a powerful tool for restaurants with over 10k followers to lead their followers to specific links or destinations outside of the platform.

You can use this feature for many occasions, such as promoting exclusive offers, new menu items, reservation bookings, behind-the-scenes content, or even cooking tutorials.

For instance, if you want to use the feature to direct customers to a landing page where they can access special discounts, you can use this caption: “Swipe Up to unlock a secret menu item and enjoy 20% off your next visit!”

Create a Brand Story

A chef pouring a meat roll menu with a sauce
A chef pouring a meat roll menu with a sauce

Creating a brand story for restaurant Instagram stories is a great way to engage your customers and give them a deeper, more intimate look into your business.

You can start by making a sequence of stories to tell a specific theme or topic surrounding your restaurants. For instance, you can pick themes like Meet the Chef, Farm-to-Table Journey, Special Events Sneak Peek, and more.

Remember, a brand story should reflect your restaurant’s values, uniqueness, and what sets it apart from others.

Partner with Other Brands

Restaurant owners partnering
Restaurant owners partnering

Another strategic move for restaurants to use Instagram stories is to partner with other brands. By teaming up with like-minded brands, you can unlock unique opportunities to promote each other’s products or services with fresh content.

There are unlimited ways to execute this marketing tip, including influencer collaborations. To do this, identify influential food bloggers or social media influencers whose values align with your brand and collaborate with them for an Instagram takeover or a joint promotional campaign.

Here’s an example of the caption to use: “We’re thrilled to have @foodieexpert take over our Instagram stories today! Follow along as they explore our menu and share their favorite dishes.”

Other promising ways are conducting collaborative events, giving out exclusive offers, giveaways and contests, and cross-promotion.

Post How-to Cooking Tutorials

A man filming a cooking tutorial
A man filming a cooking tutorial

survey discovered that tutorials are among the top Instagram story format chosen by users. This means that how-to-cooking tutorials are promising to drive traffic and keep users engage further.

You can add spices to the content, such as Culinary Hacks, Ingredient Spotlights, Chef Tips and Tricks, Seasonal Specials, and Recipe Demos.

For instance, suppose you’re an Italian restaurant; you can post a cooking demo of a pasta menu and write this caption: “Learn how to make our famous creamy pasta carbonara in just a few simple steps! Swipe up to watch the tutorial and try it out at home.”.

Remember to keep your tutorials concise and visually appealing. Plus, provide clear instructions. Engage with your audience by encouraging them to try the recipes themselves and share their results using a branded hashtag.

Polls/Ask A Question

Ask me a question for Instagram
Ask me a question for Instagram

According to the previously mentioned survey, Polls/Ask A Question is also among the top Instagram stories features. It’s a fun way to engage with your followers, gather feedback, and generate excitement at the same time.

You can freely create an Instagram story poll and let your followers choose the menu of the day, ingredient choices, or even foodie favorites.

On top of that, the Ask A Question feature also allows customers to give a private, direct space for their feedback. Simply ask, “How was your recent visit to our restaurant? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Your feedback matters!” and see direct feedback to your DMs.

Create Competitions Using Hashtags

Example Hashtag Campaigns for Restaurants
Example Hashtag Campaigns for Restaurants

Competitions encourage followers to participate, which leads to higher engagement on your Instagram stories.

Simply come up with a unique hashtag to promote your competition and encourage your followers to insert the hashtag in every content they post.

By using specific hashtags, you can track entries and interactions, making it easier to measure and analyze the success of your campaign.

Moreover, hashtags allow your competition to be discovered by a wider audience beyond your existing followers through user-generated content.

You can repost the content on your own story, further promoting your brand and building credibility.

Share Positive Guest Testimonials

Customer Testimonials
Customer Testimonials

Share positive guest testimonials on your restaurant’s Instagram stories to showcase the satisfaction of your customers.

Feature heartfelt customer reviews, glowing comments, or photos of happy guests enjoying their dining experience. Add cute Instagram story stickers to highlight those testimonials.

By highlighting these testimonials, you not only build credibility and trust but also inspire others to visit your establishment.

Let your customers become your best advocates, and watch as their positive experiences attract new patrons to your restaurant.

Include Discounts and Special Offers in Your Stories

A Girl Doing One of Top Food Promotion Ideas to Win More Customers
A Girl Doing One of Top Food Promotion Ideas to Win More Customers

Customers love discounts, and Instagram stories are the best place to promote the offers.

By offering special deals in your stories, you create a sense of urgency and excitement. Followers are more likely to engage with your story, share it with their friends, and potentially visit your restaurant to take advantage of the restaurant promotion ideas.

Remember to insert a redirect link to your restaurant’s menu or order page so that the customers can directly purchase your menu.

Reposts/Add to Story

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Instagram’s Repost/Add to Your Story feature makes it easier for restaurants to repost/reshare other users’ stories in which they are being tagged.

Always monitor mentions, tags, or hashtags related to your restaurant. When customers or influencers post photos or videos enjoying their experience at your restaurant, repost their content on your own Instagram account. Add a caption thanking them for visiting.

Post High-quality Images

High Quality Photos for Your Restaurant Website
High Quality Photos for Your Restaurant Website

Avoid posting blurry photos or shaky videos to your restaurant’s Instagram stories and Instagram feed; they aren’t such a feast for the eyes. Instead, post high-quality photos to pique followers’ interest.

You can start to invest in better camera quality for the device that you use to post stories. Further, you can also hire a professional photographer or videographer to capture your restaurant through their lens. This way, your content will be crispier and sharper.

Promote New Blog Posts

Start a Blog
Start a Blog

One of the newest Instagram story features allows every user to add a link to their Instagram stories, no matter how many followers they have. This is a quick way to showcase your new blog posts to a wider audience.

Create visually appealing graphics or images related to your blog post. Add some captivating captions that provide a sneak peek into the content of your blog post.

After 24h has passed, you can put the stories in your IG story highlights so everyone can access them every time.

Add Your Location

Restaurant Locations
Restaurant Locations

Adding your location in restaurant Insta stories is a powerful way to increase your business’s engagement, reach, and visibility.

By adding your restaurant’s location to your Instagram stories, you make it easier for Instagram users who are searching for businesses in that area to find you.

When someone searches for the location you’ve tagged, your story will appear in the location story feed, exposing your content to a wider audience.

Create Influencer Content

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

Look for influencers in the food and restaurant niche who have a significant number of followers and whose style aligns with your brand.

Give them creative freedom to express their personal experiences, opinions, or recommendations related to your brand. This way, you’ll broaden your reach.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the new Instagram long story update?

Previously, the time limit for Instagram stories was 15 seconds, but the new story update lets users post stories up to 60 seconds in length. This means you can share videos or longer and more detailed content within a single story.

What should a restaurant post on Instagram?

A restaurant can engage its audience on the Instagram app by posting mouth-watering food photos, behind-the-scenes glimpses, special promotions, user-generated content, events, chef spotlights, customer testimonials, and local partnerships.

What is the new Instagram update layout?

The specific changes to the layout include a new navigation order with buttons such as Home, Search, Compose, Reels, and Profile. The Shop tab is reported to be disappearing completely. The layout is described as more streamlined, organized, and taking up more screen space with a taller, portrait-style format for photos and videos.


In conclusion, Instagram stories present an incredible opportunity for restaurants to engage and entice their audience with enticing visuals.

By implementing the ideas discussed in this post and leveraging the power of Instagram’s storytelling feature, restaurants can create an immersive and memorable experience for their customers.

So go ahead, unleash your creativity, and captivate your audience through Instagram stories—the possibilities are endless! If you need further assistance to know how Instagram stories work, contact us at SEO for Restaurants now!

Andrea Abbondanza

Andrea Abbondanza, born in Milan (Italy) and now a proud Australian citizen, is a passionate food lover and the dynamic CEO of 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.

Triple Your Restaurant Bookings And 2x your deliveries

Seo for Restaurants is a boutique agency specialised in Google Business Management, SEO and Local SEO for restaurants and Cafes.

What can we do for you?

  • Be on top of Google in your local area
  • Reach new customers
  • Increase the number of phone calls
  • Increase the number of bookings and most importantly, increase revenue for your restaurant

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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