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How to Run a Food Instagram for a Restaurant


Natalie DeSouza, Account Executive

As PR/AD majors, running social media for the businesses we work on is one of the highly popular jobs that is done for clients. However, a restaurant or bakery Instagram will be a lot different than a finance business. This semester, my team and I have the opportunity to work with the Waffle Shop downtown and through our research and current experience with running their Instagram we set up a few tips on how to run a food Instagram whether you’re a foodie yourself or if it’s for a restaurant!

Focus on food photography.

Although it might be tempting to put pictures of recipes and workers, the main aspect that catches someone’s eye is the actual photography of the food. Hone in on your own photography style that you envision for your blog or your restaurant. Look at others for examples and focus on the different aspects such as lighting, saturation, and shadows. Learn from the pros and create a list of food Instagram pages that inspire you!

Write a text, not a caption.

No one wants to see a super professional caption under a scrumptious picture of a waffle or pancakes. Start a conversation with your followers and appeal to the setting. If it is St. Patrick’s day make a caption relating to that and convincing your audience why they should come on down to your restaurant that day.

Customize your hashtags for each post and tag within the picture.

Although they can be tedious to make, hashtags are what ultimately gets you on the feed and searches of people looking at food pages and helps you gain new followers. Make sure the hashtags apply to your picture. Just think of all the times you’ve searched up a certain hashtag or have seen new things show up on your discover feed, it is a perfect opportunity to reach new audiences.

Follow other food accounts and like their pictures.

The food audience on Instagram is a community! If you are a local restaurant and follow other local restaurant pages it will be nice to collaborate or support each other because then customers from either place can start going to the other local food places that are supported by the ones they like.

Post at strategic times.

If your account is a business account on Instagram, it is easy to see when your followers are most engaged and you can set up notes that will help you learn when to post to get the most interactions. There are also apps you can get that automatically post at a certain time of day for you if you’re busy with work.

Run contests.

One way to get the most interaction is to do a food giveaway or contest. One example could be if a person comments on a certain post and follows the account they have a chance to win a free dinner. This is a great way to gain new followers as a business especially if you collaborate with another business or food blogger that can help promote it even more. Hold photo challenges as well.


Check out @thewaffleshoppsu on Instagram!

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