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A Guide to Using Influencer Marketing for Your Restaurant

Social media influencers have become the guiding force for almost anything these days. From where to buy your next pair of shoes to where you should go to eat—you’re likely to check in with social media trends before you make a decision.

That’s why; using the right influencer marketing strategy can significantly increase your restaurant’s reach and revenue.

40% of respondents in a survey in the U.K. said that they were using social media more during the pandemic. This implies that marketing on social media has a greater impact now compared to ever before in the past. There’s a high chance that the customers you are likely to reach have now come across your business through an online medium. So, here’s what you need to know about working with influencers to help with your restaurant marketing.

Looking for general restaurant marketing tips read this blog post here

Choose a Local Influencer

An image of an influencer taking a photo of food at a restaurant.

A local influencer is more likely to reach an audience that can actually order from or visit your restaurant. An influencer based in other parts of the world might have a global reach—but they aren’t reaching the right people.

Get in touch with a local influencer with a substantial following, preferably one who specializes in food reviews and has a good reputation in the community. Many influencers are infamous for giving fake reviews and being inauthentic—which will only tarnish your business’s reputation if you work with them.

When you’re a small restaurant looking to attract a small number customers—going for a hugely followed influencer is unnecessary. In fact, what matters more is that the followers are legitimate and not bought, and that your restaurant is accessible to them.

Not only will you have to invest much more money if you go for a widely followed influencer—you won’t get the return on investment you were aiming for if the viewers are not part of your target audience. Local yet reliable is a smarter choice.

5 Ways Micro Influencer Marketing Benefits Restaurants

Find an Influencer Already Interested in Your Kind of Cuisine

Many influencers pride themselves in only posting about places they genuinely like. The more authentic their review is, the more likely it is for their followers to take up their suggestions. In order to increase your chances of working with an influencer who is guaranteed to give you an honest but positive review, find someone who enjoys the cuisine you specialize in.

If you specialize in Chinese or have uniquely crafted burgers, find an influencer that is keen to try out such food. This way, they’ll also be appealing to the kind of followers who are most likely to enjoy your cuisine as well. 

Four restaurant marketing ideas blog post

Think About Your Target Audience

Think About Your Target Audience

There’s no point working with an influencer who doesn’t have the followers you are interested in. For example, is your main audience on Instagram, Facebook, or are they using newer platforms such as TikTok for their daily dose of social media?

A Facebook influencer now appeals to an older audience, while newer apps are better for a younger group. You could also go for a YouTube influencer who creates aesthetic and mouthwatering videos of your dishes—if your restaurant has the design and appeal to look great in videos.

It’s also important to consider what platform you want to grow in. If your business appeals largely to an Instagram audience, it is smarter to work with an Instagram influencer who can tag your business and direct people to your restaurant’s profile.

Get in Touch

Some influencers work with agencies, while others are individuals who work on their own. If you are looking to save time and have the funds to pay an influencer who works with an agency, you can search up agencies based on your locality and niche.

However, if you have the time and are trying to manage the influencer process with lesser investment, you can search up hashtags on various platforms to find the people that will work best with your business. These people can be contacted personally, while influencers that work with agencies are deal with through the agency.

Here are the restaurant marketing strategies you must know. 

Discuss the Compensation

Most of the time, if you request an influencer to visit your restaurant, the compensation is in the form of a free meal. They might also want to bring someone along with them. Some individuals might also request payment—so work with an experienced restaurant consultant on deciding what your marketing budget is.

Marketing budget for your restaurant: read more here.  

You will also have to be comfortable with the influencer disclosing that their visit was part of an ad. They might use the hashtag #ad or #sponsored. These are now requirements for social media marketing, but as long as the review is authentic and the influencer is genuine, it should not have an adverse impact on the audience. 

Find Out What Kind of Promotion They Do

Some influencers do videos, photos, and a short caption on their profile. However, if you can work with an influencer that also does blog posts and features the articles on their site, the article will continue to show up in Google search results for much longer than a single social media post.

It also gives readers a more in-depth idea of how your restaurant is. These kinds of partnerships work well when you are launching a newly revamped menu or have a deal—because it gives an influencer more freedom to talk about their experience.

Most of the time, an influencer requires monetary compensation for writing a blog post. You will also have to provide them with some information they can use, such as the background of your business, your vision, your specialties, etc., to create a more personal touch to the blog.

Read this interesting post from Entrepreneur.com.   

Final Words

It’s important to work with the right influencers when trying to increase your restaurant’s reach. They can often be a costly investment—but when they reach the desired audience, the revenue that it can generate can more than compensate for the investment you made.

Although having influencers post about your restaurant is sure to make a difference, certain times are more beneficial for such partnerships than others. For example, when you are promoting a new deal or are newly reopened after making necessary COVID-19 rearrangements. 

New eBook Reveals How To Successfully Open A Restaurant… Free E-Book!


About the Author

Massimo’s career has grown up through the restaurant world, starting as a waiter through to high-end restaurant openings within an operational management capacity. This depth of experience has allowed him to understand the business from both a guest’s needs to what a team needs, giving him the benefit of an all-rounded view and approach to problem solving.