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How to Make Your Restaurant Marketable in the Social Generation

According to a 2016 survey by Sprout Social, 75% of people interviewed have purchased something because they saw it on social. This information is pertinent because there are over 200 million posts tagged #food and over 23 million with #drinks.

Putting these two bits of information together, if you’re a restaurateur, you should be paying attention to the minutia of how your restaurants are designed, with the aim to impress the social media generation.  Here are some of the strategies that could help you achieve social media mastery.

75% of people have purchased something because they saw it on social.

A visually stimulating concept

Your restaurant needs to be thought out from the first instance through to design and menu. Every detail should be coordinated, as this will guarantee that any imagery taken on Instagram will appear consistent. Take restaurant group Flat Iron, which currently has four locations across the Capital. Total simplicity in its menu design, with just one steak – the eponymous flat iron steak that arrives at the table on a wooden chopping board – on offer with a side of greens for £10.

Each location has its own sense of style that matches the area it is set in, but the overall aesthetic is sparse and bare – just like the chopping boards your dinner arrives on.  Here, the concept allows the food to speak for itself. Everything else is superfluous. And when you’re selling something as delicious and straightforward as a steak, that’s all that’s important. The photos take themselves.

And it’s not just restaurants that have great food-based social media. Clerkenwell Boy’s social media presence is another impressive example of how effective Instagram can be using just photographs of food. For many of Clerkenwell Boy’s 153,000 Instagram followers, his feed is often their first port of call when choosing a restaurant or dish. When Clerkenwell Boy posts a close-up of Newman Arms’ roasted monkfish, you can be sure that by the time you get around to making a table booking it’ll be fully booked.

By using Clerkenwell’s examples of posting frequency, detailed images of beautifully presented meals and user engagement, you can really let your restaurant’s food speak (and sell) for itself.


Table detail

There’s no winning formula when it comes to the best table design for social media. Two, however, which are pretty much oppositional, however, are the following:

Table maximalism: Just like at Flat Iron, serving food on exciting plating options can be a way to excite your audience, create new social media opportunities.  At Flat Iron, the chopping board has become synonymous with their brand, meaning that all photos taken and posted online equate to free marketing. Taking into account new trends in china, crockery and cutlery can be a fantastic way of keeping it fresh and encouraging customers to share their plates.

Table minimalism: The opposite to table maximalism is, obviously table minimalism. Plain white tablecloths, white plates and/or bowls and simple glassware helps to ensure that the food stands out. For this strategy to work, your menu needs to look stunning, as it’s going to be the sole focus of your customers’ cameras and 140-character reviews. That brings us to our next point:


Your menu can no longer just offer a sumptuous array of delicious foods and beverages. It also needs to look good enough to get people to take out their phones and take photos. There are some simple techniques to help you do this.

The first is obviously to produce visually stunning food. Another is to give your customers little hints that act as calls-to-action. A good example of this is to include your restaurant’s Twitter handle at the top of your menu. Another is to create a hashtag and invite your customers to publish photos of food under that hashtag. You could also add the Instagram logo to the corner of each page of your menu. This sort of subtle inference will subconsciously help your audience to promote your restaurant’s menu.

Many companies just see social media as a way of building brand awareness, but it can do much more than this for your restaurant: it builds trust. Trust in the quality of the experience a potential customer could have. But it only helps to do this if you plan to apply the techniques above in your own restaurant from the very beginning. If you’re looking for your next restaurant opportunity, speak with a member of our team and we can help to introduce you to the right property, as well as advise on sales-generating techniques.

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