Social Media Marketing for Restaurants

I was shell-shocked when I joined the company and got to know that they have no other means of marketing than social media. I asked the CEO of my company that how do we end up landing big orders, mind you that we are a catering company and we work out of a kitchen which is hidden from view and people do not even know our location. It was a pleasant surprise, as she told me that we post on Facebook and Instagram (Most of the time free posts) and we generate some orders and when people taste our food at gatherings and events then order from word of mouth. This was simply amazing for me. But how does it work? Turns out we have a great social media manager (she also does deliveries and helps the chefs with the cooking when there is a need!) So I asked her what her approach is and she tells me that she was working with a social media marketing agency which taught her how to create your brand, product or service awareness and she applies the same strategy here. And this is her social media strategy for this catering restaurant in New York:

Get an awesome camera and food stylist

You have to be skilled with a camera, she uses her iPhone camera (what???) and goes about the kitchen snapping pictures of food being prepared in its different stages, sometimes beginning from washing to cutting and ending at packaged, during the preparation of a single recipes she must have taken around 100 photos. I inquire about the need for taking so many photos and she simply replies, “you never know what type of photo you might need for what type of campaign”. She took photos of chefs having fun with each other as well, hugging and smiling and all.

Post Menu Items per day

Another strategy which she has adopted for her social media campaigns is that she makes sure that she posts at least one food related picture a day on there most business generating social media platforms, this she says “engages the people that we are not dead and out of business, in fact we are doing very good, and if you are not ordering from us you are missing out on something special” The trick is very psychological, even if someone has already ordered their food, they are reminded of their last experience which creates a desire to have the food again. Pretty Clever I thought Pretty Clever.

Post food as the weather

Back in November there was a snowstorm in New York City, as I scroll through the social media apps of our company, I realize that we had posted around 3 updates on the weather situation accompanied with pictures of our finger foods, which would be an ideal food in such cold weather, again I thought this was pretty cool as the pictures were taken with a backdrop of snow and the plates full of hot steaming finger foods occupied most of the frame. Any person would want to get a hand on that plate in such weather.

Posts about your Chef’s

Our restaurant has Chefs and cooks who are from less privileged backgrounds and everyone has a story, part of our social media strategy was to show the lives and tell the stories of the people who were cooking food for our customers. This human touch added so much more to the way people worked, it was pervasive in everything. Our CEO is driven by a mission, but putting it all across to the customers is essential, that is again where we are using social media as a key component, our social media manager posts pictures of our chef’s and sometimes writes a few lines about their backgrounds and this works. “Our customers feel connected and feel that they contribute to the lives of our Chef’s when they order from us and this is the entire point,” says the CEO.

Special events

A part of our business is when we cater to special events, our social media manager takes a lot of pictures of these events, and if she cannot be there herself, she pleads to our staff who will be in attendance to get a few snaps. This generates interest from people who want to conduct special events and you land big orders. Neat!

Customer feedback

A customer feedback form is automatically sent to every customer who orders food from us, and sometimes we get on a call with random customers to get feedback on not only food but the entire customer experience. Sometimes people go beyond feedback and write such fabulous reviews that she posts them on our social media platforms and this again generates not only more orders, but creates trust and affirmation for all the people who are either planning on ordering from us the first time or are repeat customers.

Recipes origins

One of the most fascinating things I found about the company where I applied to and started working was that they used to post about the origins of their recipes, that was also my first encounter with my company as I read about a recipe which they had posted on – again social media – and I became interested in working for this company, this kind of content does not only generate interest but also works for creating a positive brand image, I might never have applied here had I not come across the recipe on social media.

Get Influencers

Another trick which our social media strategy has up its sleeve is that we occasionally hire people of influence, (this is mostly where we serve, and you get to meet a lot of people who are either influencers or have achieved some sort of celebrity status), this also results in more customer orders as people associate themselves with these people and creates brand awareness and recognition.

I could go on all day writing about the benefits which we cultivate from our social media alone and how we built an established food catering business in New York alone just through smart and strong social media publications. In essence if you have a good social media campaign going on you can reap a lot of profit from it, I would recommend that if you are short on budgets you can always hire a social media agency or you can hire a social media manager, it will do wonders for your business, mark my words!


*This post is written by an employee of a New York City based catering restaurant.