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Social Media Tips for Restaurants, Bars & Cafés

Thursday 11th April

Blog Author Beth Perrin by Beth Perrin

We all know about the power of social media when it comes to eCommerce businesses and brand marketing - but as the owner of a restaurant, pub, bar or café, it’s important to be aware of the benefits it can bring to those in the hospitality industry too. Nearly 50% of diners say they’ve tried a restaurant for the first time because of a social media post and 71% of customers are more likely to recommend a restaurant if it responds quickly on social media, proving just how influential platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be on footfall and customer advocacy. From table bookings and guest relations to engaging content and menu promotion, take a look at some of our top tips and suggestions below.


High-Quality Visuals

Visuals are a huge part of what makes a dining experience enjoyable, so producing and sharing top quality photos of your dishes and drinks is paramount for marketing your hospitality business. Give your followers something to feast their eyes on with high resolution images of your food to entice and excite them. It’s also a good idea to show customers what they can expect from the interior of your restaurant, so make sure you provide some warm and inviting shots of your bar and seating areas too.

Plus, with 86% of consumers spending a quarter or more of their time on social media watching videos, now is the time to harness the effectiveness of video content. Short-form video in particular has been proven to deliver the highest ROI compared to other marketing trends, so why not create a TikTok demonstrating how your signature cocktail is made, or film an Instagram Reel featuring a tempting slow-mo of your best-selling dessert?

Don’t forget to update your cover photo on Facebook and your header image on X whenever there’s something new to show customers - this could be a photo of some new menu items or a freshly refurbished interior, or a graphic displaying your latest offers.


Online Booking Capabilities

Don’t get left behind by failing to provide an efficient booking method for your guests. Did you know that 56% of UK diners prefer to make reservations online? To facilitate table bookings via social media, you can either:


Allow guests to send you a message containing their details and booking date/time

Implement a Book Now button on your Facebook page

Add a Reserve button to your Instagram profile


Facebook also has a ‘Start Order’ action button which is a great choice if your restaurant offers delivery or pickup options, and has been shown to increase online orders by 3-4%.


Customer Service

The level of customer service you provide to your guests online should mirror that which is given in-house. It’s unlikely that you or your team would leave a customer waiting at the door of your restaurant for hours without attending to their needs, so it’s crucial not to ignore your social media audience either. Check out our work with Papa John’s or wagamama to see how we adopted their respective tones of voice to offer round-the-clock customer service, even outside of standard office hours.

Prompt, timely responses to messages will increase feelings of trust and reliability regarding your brand, and will show that you’re eager to help. 79% of customers expect a response to their social media comments within 24 hours, with 39% of them shortening this expectation even further to just 60 minutes - so if you’re taking too long to respond, you could be missing out on key opportunities to take bookings and answer enquiries that may lead to conversions. Additionally, being active on social media means you can swiftly identify and respond to any real-time issues and live complaints raised by guests who are currently inside your establishment, enabling you to provide solutions right there and then.


Reviews, Ratings and Feedback

Social proof is a powerful thing, especially when it comes to choosing where to dine - in fact, according to Rize Reviews, restaurants are the number one most affected industry when it comes to customer feedback. Potential guests want to feel assured that they’re going to have an excellent experience before they commit to spending any money, with a massive 90% of guests researching a restaurant online before actually going there. What’s more, 1 in 3 Facebook users check this platform to find reviews and recommendations, making it essential for your brand to encourage and collect feedback here.

In a textual analysis of more than 331,920 online reviews of more than 1,300 restaurant locations, ‘service’ was found to be the most frequently mentioned keyword, making customer service a vital aspect to track within your reviews. Furthermore, 75% of people say they would stay away from a restaurant that has negative reviews about its cleanliness, so it’s crucial to keep an eye on reviews that mention this topic too.

Responding to your reviews is also imperative - as many as 45% of consumers are more likely to support a business if they see that it has responded to negative reviews and have made an attempt to resolve any issues. Read about our Review Management service if you need a hand!


Social Listening & Proactive Engagement

Social Listening involves tracking specific keywords and phrases on social media to see what’s being said about your business, your local area and the wider hospitality industry, allowing you to start conversations with potential customers who aren’t yet aware of your brand but are are talking about something that relates to it - or who are actively on the lookout for an establishment like yours.

Take a look at the example below, where a user has shared that they are looking for Sunday roast recommendations. A pub located in Barnstaple monitoring the keywords ‘Sunday roast’ and ‘North Devon’ would be able to find this person’s post despite not being tagged, giving them an opportunity to introduce themselves and make the prospective guest aware of their existence - hopefully resulting in a subsequent visit.

A social media conversation between a user and a pub


If the pub hadn’t been conducting social listening - and was therefore only being notified of direct mentions containing its @username - this user’s post would have gone undetected, causing the pub to miss out on a key opportunity to encourage a conversion.


Boost Credibility by Promoting Your Awards

If your restaurant, café, bar or pub has won any significant awards or accolades recently, take advantage of social media to shout about your successes. This confirms to prospective customers that your establishment is high in quality and is somewhere worth visiting. Adding relevant reward badges to your Facebook cover photo, for example, is a great way to show off your achievements to any newcomers to your page - it’s the first thing they’ll see at the top of the screen when they visit.


User Generated Content

UGC, which stands for user generated content, refers to any content created by your customers and fans that relates to your brand - such as a photo of them enjoying a meal at your restaurant or a Reel of them raising a toast at your bar. 45% of people say they will unfollow a brand on social media if it posts too much self-promotion, so regularly incorporating UGC into your strategy is a great way to mix up your content and ensure you’re providing a range of different perspectives. It also boosts authenticity by showing potential guests what they can expect from your restaurant, through the lens of real visitors.

To find UGC, regularly look through your tagged photos and videos, as well as posts you’ve been mentioned in, to see if there’s anything you’d like to save and share. Don’t forget to also check your restaurant’s Geotag on Instagram, as some guests may tag their posts with your location but not your @username, meaning you won’t be notified of them.

Before downloading any UGC and sharing it onto your own page(s), always ask for permission from the original uploader first - never use a customer’s photo or video without checking if they’re happy for you to do so.



Overall, it’s clear to see just how important social media is for brands and businesses in the hospitality industry. We’ve specialised in providing Community Management, Review Management and more for restaurants, bars, pubs and cafés, both large and small, for many years, making us experts in this sector. If you’re struggling to keep up with all of your incoming messages, comments, reviews and bookings, get in touch with our dedicated team to discover how we can help your business 365 days a year.