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8 Instagram Marketing Tips To Level Up Your Restaurant

Running a social media account for your business on Instagram can be quite overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done it before. Not to worry, though! We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of 8 Instagram marketing tips that can take your F&B business to the next level in 2024:

  1. Optimize your Instagram profile 
  2. Build an aesthetic grid
  3. Connect with customers using Instagram Stories
  4. Know your #hashtags 
  5. Entice your audience with Instagram Reels 
  6. Effectively use paid ads 
  7. Leverage analytics tools 
  8. Timing is everything!


1. Optimise your IG profile

Candid Coffee PH's Instagram Page

Images via @candidcoffeeph

First, you need to ensure that you have a Business account set up, not a personal one. This will give you access to advanced features like Instagram Insights, which can help you better understand your audience.

More on this later…

Next, optimize your Instagram profile to include essential details such as your username, category, website, bio, and public business information. Your profile picture should effectively convey your restaurant’s brand – ideally your logo – so that customers can easily associate your physical store with your online presence.

For example, Candid Coffee’s Instagram profile is instantly recognizable. New visitors can immediately see that Candid Coffee started as a coffee cart in 2016 and has since expanded to multiple stores in Manila. Additionally, they sell coffee both wholesale and retail. 


2. Build an aesthetic grid

Kurimu Philippines' Instagram

Images via

Posting mouth-watering food photos is great, but having a cohesive-looking Instagram grid can elevate your profile’s visual appeal. Consider these tips:

  • Commit to a color palette: Choose colors that align with your brand and use them consistently.
  • Create a checkerboard effect: Alternate different types of photos, text, or colors to add variety.
  • Break your grid into squares: Arrange your posts to form a larger image.

For instance, Kurimu PH maintains a consistent feed by incorporating neutral colors into all its post backgrounds, framed with a gray-colored border. This consistency makes their overall feed more cohesive and visually appealing.

Following these tips can enhance your profile’s look. Just ensure your design reflects your brand!


3. Connect with customers using Instagram Stories

Commune Philippines Instagram

Images via @communeph

Instagram Stories are a powerful tool for engaging with your audience and keeping your brand top-of-mind. Unlike regular posts, Stories are temporary, disappearing after 24 hours, which creates a sense of urgency and encourages immediate interaction.

If you’d like them to be visible for more than 24 hours, you can pin them to your page as Instagram Story Highlights. This can be particularly useful for displaying information about your restaurant such as menu, price lists, operating hours, and a showreel of user-generated content. 

In comparison to feed posts, Stories allow its users to engage with their audience as freely as they want to by adding polls, quizzes and custom stickers. 

Commune PH does this very well by posting a series of Stories and Highlights to shine a spotlight on their menu, events, operating hours, and limited-time releases. They also utilize question stickers to engage with their fans, allowing for two-way interaction.

We recommend creating Instagram Stories templates on FREE design tools such as Canva before posting. This is to help inject more of your brand identity and personality and brand identity into your Stories.


4. Know your #hashtags

Hashtags for Instagram Marketing

Instagram is a massive platform that’s brimming with competition, especially for F&B businesses. 

So how do you set yourself apart from your competitors and get more people to find out about your restaurant? 

The answer to this is the effective use of hashtags. Hootsuite recommends about five to nine hashtags per post. Any more than that can actually decrease your post’s engagement and make it look spammy.

If there are certain hashtags that you must include without overwhelming your post caption, you have the option to post these hashtags in the comments section the post. 

We also recommend you use local hashtags such as #makanmakan or #cafemalaysia to drive local traffic to your posts.

To find the best hashtags that’s most relevant to your restaurant, you can search for popular keywords using Google Search or take note of Instagram hashtags that are currently being used by your competitors in their top posts. 


5. Entice your audience with IG reels

Wagyu Studio PH Instagram

Images via @wagyustudio

Sometimes, you just want to let your food speak for itself – that’s where Instagram Reels comes in! 

Reels are 15-60 second multi-cut videos that can be viewed by other users in the Explore page or in the Reels feed on your profile. does a great job of explaining the process of creating your own Instagram Reels. 

Highly shareable short-video formats are all the rage right now (thanks to applications such as TikTok), and Reels are your best bet to maximize your reach. Here’s how you can make the most out of it:

  • Highlight Signature Dishes: Showcase your best dishes by creating visually appealing videos of their preparation and presentation.
  • Share Behind-the-Scenes Content: Give a glimpse into your kitchen and introduce your staff to build a personal connection with your audience.
  • Feature Customer Testimonials: Turn short video testimonials from happy customers into Reels to build trust and influence potential customers.
  • Announce Promotions and Events: Use Reels to announce special promotions, new menu items, or upcoming events to create excitement and drive traffic.
  • Use Trending Sounds and Challenges: Incorporate popular sounds and participate and trending challenges to increase your content’s discoverability.
  • Showcase your Restaurant’s Ambiance: Highlight unique aspects of your restaurant’s ambiance and decor to attract customers looking for a great dining experience.

Wagyu Studio is an example of a restaurant that posts Reels that are engaging, yet showcases the brand identity well – averaging more than 5,000 views per Reel.


6. Effectively use paid ads

Instagram Ads

While organic content is crucial for building a genuine connection with your audience, leveraging paid ads on Instagram can significantly amplify your reach and drive more traffic to your restaurant. Here’s how to effectively use paid ads:

  • Boost Top-Performing Content: Allocate a budget to boost posts with high engagement.
  • Create Targeted Ads: Tailor ads to different audience segments using demographics, interests, behaviors, and location.
  • Use Lookalike Audiences: Reach new users who resemble your existing followers and customers.
  • Retarget Existing Audiences: Re-engage users who have previously interacted with your profile or website.
  • Experiment with Ad Formats: Try different formats like photo, video, carousel, and story ads.
  • Leverage Instagram Stories Ads: Utilize the immersive full-screen format of Stories Ads.
  • Monitor and Optimize Ads: Track key metrics and optimize your ads based on performance data.
  • Allocate Budget Wisely: Start with a smaller budget to test approaches and increase it based on results, ensuring a good ROI.

We know dipping your toes into Instagram ads may feel quite daunting at first, but with more patience and experience on your side, you will be a master in no time!


7. Leverage analytics tools

Understanding your audience and tracking content performance is crucial for refining your Instagram strategy.

Use Instagram Insights to monitor key metrics like impressions, reach, engagement, follower growth, and audience demographics.

Regularly review post, Stories, and Reels performance – focusing on views, completion rates, and interactions.

Analyze ad performance by tracking metrics such as click-through-rates (the number of clicks on a link or post relative to the number of people it has reached). 

Utilize third-party tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social for comprehensive reports, competitor analysis, and social listening. Set specific benchmarks and goals, adjust your content and posting schedule based on insights, and refine your audience targeting to enhance engagement and drive results.


8. Timing is everything!

Social media schedule

Posting content at the right time can significantly impact its visibility and engagement. The first step is to understand when your audience is the most active on Instagram. Use Instagram Insights to analyze the ‘Audience’ section, which shows the days and times that your followers are mosts active. This data helps you schedule your posts for optimal engagement.

For restaurants and café businesses, timing your posts around meal times can be particularly effective. In the Philippines, consider these peak times:

  • Breakfast: Post between 7:00AM and 9:00AM to capture the morning crowd.
  • Lunch: Post around 12:00PM to 1:00PM when people are deciding where to eat.
  • Dinner: Post between 6:00PM and 7:00PM as people plan their evening meals.

Experiment with posting at different times and days to see what works best for your audience. Track the performance of your posts using Instagram Insights, paying attention to metrics like reach, engagement, and interactions. Adjust your posting schedule based on what data tells you.

You can also leverage scheduling tools like Meta Business Suite or third-party apps like Hootsuite to schedule your posts in advance. This ensures consistent posting, even during peak hours when you might be busy with restaurant operations.


Time to experiment!

Food marketing relies heavily on visuals, and Instagram is the perfect platform for it. Implement these tips and watch your restaurant grow.

Remember, Instagram is a platform that allows for real-time customer interaction with your business online, so you will be able to quickly build a relationship with them online.

Utilizing it’s data analytics also allows you to make better-informed decisions and adjust your strategy for improved results. 

Let us take care of restaurant operations, so you can focus on implementing these tips for your restaurant.


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