French fries and different types of sauce on a table

45% of U.S. diners tried a restaurant for the first time because they saw its social media marketing².

Screen shot showing restaurant comments and poll results

42% of U.S. diners say they’ve interacted with restaurants on a social media platform³.

Social media follow button with a mouse pointer hovering over it

36% of U.S. diners follow restaurants on social media⁴.

Cellphone showing Instagram with a photo of many plates of food on a table

TikTok is the fastest-growing platform, and is currently changing how people find restaurants. How? They use it (and Instagram) as a search engine — up to 40% of Gen Z prefer this over Google⁵. Additionally, more than 36% of users have eaten at a restaurant after seeing a TikTok about it⁶.

Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and Facebook icons

Instagram is the most popular app among Millennials. In fact, 30% of Millennial diners actively avoid restaurants with a weak Instagram presence⁷.


Social media gives you a direct line to potential customers. You can provide information and chat with them. It displays your restaurant and amazing menu where people already hang out online. And it lends your restaurant more legitimacy.

It’s also a great tool to let your diners do the social media marketing for you — 69% of Millennials share pictures of their food, especially if it’s beautiful⁸.


Whatever the platform, you’ll want to follow these guidelines.

Women working on a laptop and setting up a cellphone on a stand


  • Make it snappy:  Prioritize short and vertical videos. And if they’re not perfect? No problem — people love videos that feel real.

  • Use paid posts: Amplify important upcoming moments, such as limited-time-only deals, new location openings, and big events. 

  • Post regularly: A good cadence for a restaurant to post is about 3 times a week, on average. It’s especially helpful to create a social media marketing calendar, with posts scheduled in advance.

  • Answer Customer Questions: One of the most important functions of your social account is to attend to customer questions, and offer prompt, personable, and overall informative answers. You’ll want an appointed staff member checking in on DMs or @mentions, daily.

Women taking a photo of a restaurant menu in a window on her cellphone


  • Stick to your brand’s personality: Make sure your restaurant’s social fits into your overall restaurant marketing strategy and showcases your restaurant’s atmosphere.

  • Use restaurant social media marketing to get email signups: Email is a great way to stay connected with your customers. Your social strategy can push to email sign ups through paid ads or with a simple link in your account’s bio.

  • Use relevant hashtags: Hashtags help to expand reach and connect with people interested in food and dining. Branded hashtags are great for campaigns, special promotions, and contests.

  • Contests and promos: Speaking of contests, hold giveaways and exclusive promotions to engage your audience and generate buzz. Get them to like, share, and tag friends to increase visibility.

Two chefs looking at a laptop with one pointing at the screen and the other typing


  • Show behind the scenes: People love food and cooking videos and also enjoy an insider’s perspective. Let chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, servers, and more “take over” the account for a day-in-the-life style video.

  • Engage with your audience: Respond to reviews. Repost diners’ pictures to your own account. Chat with them in the comments or direct messages.

  • Jump on trends: If a ‘silly’ dance is trending, let your staff recreate it, but make sure it’s appropriate and relevant to your brand.

  • Get your employees involved: Encourage them to post to their own accounts — especially for events, favorite dishes, job openings, a milestone they’ve hit, or even just hanging out with their favorite regulars. Let them offer on-the-spot discounts to encourage customers to return.

Prepped with these guidelines and strategies, your restaurant will be ready to tackle the social media world.