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Guide to successful Instagram - for restaurant owners





As people love to look at food, Instagram is a restaurant’s number one little helper. A successful profile with quality posts is guaranteed to attract guests without the need to spend tons of money for advertisement. The following tips will help you discover your restaurant’s voice. Interact and engage with your target audiences by persuading them the way you would like to be persuaded. Use a smartphone or camera, either will do. With the incredible advancements in today’s technology, no one can tell the difference in quality. It’s the content and frequency of your posts that’s important. Let’s take a look how you can use Instagram to your advantage and reel in as many followers as possible.  

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Food bloggers are your friends

A food blogger with a large following should be your target. If he or she decides to post about your restaurant, great brand exposure to a wide foodie audience is inevitable. Bloggers are easily reachable, with emails listed in their bios or you can direct message them. They’re just as anxious as you to get more followers, and together you’ll expand your audiences, wielding in more potential clients.

But how big a following is big enough? Around 30k to 50k should do the trick. These bloggers have managed to gain enough loyal followers, but won’t demand ridiculous sums of money to make your steak look juicy as hell online. Over 50k is where you can expect the price range to shoot up. Your aim should be to go for as many followers as possible, just look out for fake ones. If a 50k profile doesn’t receive more than 100 likes per post, you know we’re dealing with a reasonable amount of fake followers. Heavy weight profiles should get at least 500 likes and over 20 comments per post!

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Use the right hashtags

This is the most precious step of post preparation. Using the right hashtags is the single biggest thing you can do to drive organic impressions and increase your reach. Instagram posts with at least one hashtag create 12.6% more engagement than those without. Imagine what you can do with up to 60 hashtags (the amount allowable for now).

Go into your search bar and look for hashtags that will return enough results to get your post great visibility, but not so many that your post will be buried in the mass. Some of the most used hashtags that foodies use on Instagram are listed below.

Feel free to copy/paste them into any of your posts:

#instagood #food #yum #sweet #delicious #instapic #yummy #fresh #foodie #foodporn #foodgasm  #nom #hungry #cleaneating #healthy #delish

It’s always a good idea to specify them by location: i.e., #berlinsushi rather than just #sushi. This way, you’re not wasting impressions on someone in Canada who has no intention of ever coming to your restaurant. Experiment with different tags – trial and error is the only way to go.

You can post your hashtags in the first comment, after five vertical periods. Your hashtags will be hidden, your post will look cleaner, and you can avoid the stigma attached to trying too hard to get noticed. Keep your hashtags in a note on your smartphone for easy copying and pasting.

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Behind the scenes photos are all the rage!

Present your restaurant’s personality by telling a story. It’s all about knowing who you’re marketing to. Allow your guests in the kitchen. Let them glimpse at how your chef’s preparing that tasty meal or how your staff is busily prepping for a hosted event. Transparency is the new black. Let people see where and how the magic happens.

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Get others to create your content for you! 

There’s several ways you can encourage customers to post photos. The number one photo could be displayed as part of your online advertisement. Other interesting and quality pics could earn diners a free meal or a cool discount. Instagram contests are sure to motivate customers to snap lots of photos and promote your business as a result. Make sure to award creativity and artistic composition – they’ll love it! You can also employ digital signs where you can post photos in real-time. The best way to ensure the sharing of photos is of course a good old hashtag campaign!

By helping customers take viral photos, you’re helping your business break the Internet.

1. Great lighting

Invest in a space with natural light and use overhead spotlights for best photos of food.

2. Instagram kits

More and more restaurants are handing out miniature tripods and LED lights to encourage customers to share their photos. You can offer these backdrops snapped on a wall, so customers use them as backdrops to create outstanding Instagram photos. 

3. Pretty plates and cutlery

Most photogenic are dark and matt plates, and neutral tables or table cloths. DO NOT use bright warm colours (red, yellow, orange) as these are not very ‘photogenic’ colours. Use more cold desaturated colours and natural materials (stone, wood, ceramic, linen).

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Take delicious photos in less than 5 minutes!

1. Use a good lighting source

Shoot restaurant food near a window, not in the kitchen (if you do not have big windows and sunlight there). Natural light always works best with food. If you don’t have any natural source of light, use lights from both directions (not only one or above food) or at last use reflective paper on the other side, so you avoid strong and dark shadows. You can do this yourself. Simply take a big silver tray or a big slab of carton and wrap it in aluminium foil, and you’re all set!

2. Smaller plates and smaller portions

Wasting food is, well, a waste! And yet, dishes will be created with the sole purpose of being snapped. Unless you’re a high-end restaurant, the objective will be to present value-for-money by making food look plentiful. Avoid using large plates and small lumps of food; it will only make the plates look empty and food portions rather sad and lonely. Therefore, using smaller plates will fill your frame and create the illusion of a larger meal at the same time.

3. Let your food shine on best background

Play around with different background surfaces – wooden boards, different kinds of papers, rusty metal surfaces, slate stone, etc. As a restaurant owner or manager, you are limited in time, so the most convenient way is to get yourself a few rollable PVC backdrops like these, as they create an amazing illusion of the real surface backdrop and also are stain proof and water-resistant. You will be amazed by the results and get a lot of likes on Instagram!

4. Avoid shiny metalware and plates

“Shine” is one of the toughest challenges you’ll face. As many new items are shiny, this is picked up by the camera in the form of hotspots. Having a collection of bowls, plates, cups and glasses that are low on shine is a good approach when styling. These will help you avoid awkward reflections and highlighting the wrongs parts in your photos. Opt for handmade ceramics or antique cutlery. A good idea is also to use some matter hairspray to get rid of camouflage shiny areas.   


We wish you a lot of great photos, and if you use our amazing backdrops, do not forget to tag @instaset.backdrops and include #instaset hashtag, so we can feature you on our Instagram page! 🙂






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