Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has become one of the leading social media platforms for image-based content, with roughly one billion monthly users.
With over 500 million active users daily, IG’s user engagement solidifies its importance in any restaurant marketing strategy. Engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than on Facebook.
What sets Instagram apart from other social media platforms is the ability for restaurants, bistros, bars and cafes to show their brand without overtly advertising anything. It’s your chance to show off your food, your venue, your staff and your story without coming across as pushy or desperate for a reservation.
Check out these restaurants, eateries and bars doing Instagram right, and take inspiration for your social feeds.
Reykjavik, Iceland | @dillrestaurant
Dill Restaurant emphasises the environment in which they work, both indoors and outdoors. Photos including local wildlife, singled-out ingredients, and the restaurant itself give their followers plenty to talk about. They’ve also used tasteful, high-quality photography that fits their brand.
La Paz, Bolivia | @gusturestaurant
Restaurant Gustu’s mission is to work with the highest quality standards and use only ingredients from Bolivia. They continue that focus on Instagram with high-quality photos and shots of their community. Take a look at how they use stunning images to celebrate the beauty of the ingredients and give you a closer look at life inside and outside of the restaurant.
Venice, Italy | @venissa_tenuta
Venissa is a restaurant immersed in the peacefulness of a walled vineyard that offers a culinary experience bound to the terroir of Native Venice. Their love for the vineyard is evident throughout their feed as is the wine and location for which they’re famous.
Kobarid, Slovenia | @hisafranko
Hiša Franko is a restaurant working in close cooperation with local producers and ingredients. Their Instagram is a showcase of the people behind their success and the incredible food that helped them earn 2 Michelin stars and the #21 ranking in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
Verona, Italy | @bunsverona
With a name like Buns, you’d expect to see plenty of… well, buns. Lucky for us, their IG feed doesn’t disappoint. From mouth-watering images of burgers to memes and merch, this Verona-based restaurant is proof that Instagram doesn’t have to be so serious. As long as your content matches your brand, you’re golden.
Copenhagen, Denmark | @sliderscph
Don’t visit Sliders’ Instagram unless you’re prepared to be tempted by juicy burgers and decadent shakes. They keep you scrolling by using real people to show off their food and location. That’s a trick you can use for your own IG. Images with people in them tend to get more attention than those without… and it’s a great way to highlight your food, atmosphere and vibe without staging a full-on photoshoot. You can even use user-generated content (UGC) to help.
Copenhagen, Denmark | @_terrarestaurant_
Tèrra is a restaurant with zero food waste. They use each post to remind their audience of that (very awesome) fact and highlight the ingredients and people behind their award-winning concept. They’ve also found an elegant style that blends both colour and black-and-white images and matches their brand perfectly.
Copenhagen, Denmark | @banegaarden
Copenhagen’s BaneGaarden is on a mission to inspire guests to leave the world in a better state than we received it – through enthusiasm, experiences and innovative communities. Their Instagram highlights the restaurants, cultural programs, food stalls, learning processes, farm shops, and workshops that they offer. Despite all of their different offerings, they’re able to maintain continuity throughout their images.
Randers, Denmark | @cold_hand_winery
Cold Hand Winery promises to be a place where your senses open, the joy of storytelling flourishes and where some of the world's best fruit wine is produced. Their Instagram account starts that story beautifully. With a mix of video and images, they treat their followers to behind-the-scenes stories and delicious products for sale in their webshop and, of course, lots of wine.
Bologna, Italy | @ahime_bologna
Ahimè has a goal to celebrate the beauty of their area simply and informally. Their Instagram account is another celebration of beauty – with high-quality photos grabbing your attention and glimpses into the life of the restaurant showcasing the restaurant’s personality. For your restaurant’s Instagram, notice how they blend serious food photography with less serious images of the team doing what they love – providing perfect guest experiences.
Hanstholm, Denmark | @medvindhanstholm
Medvind is the perfect example of how to make casual, relaxed images work. Instead of relying on professional-looking images, their account feels like something already in your feed – like scrolling through updates from a friend. That vibe fits perfectly with Medvind’s goal of bringing people together.
Porto, Portugal | @euskaldunastudio
Euskalduna Studio’s Instagram account is a perfect example of how to use the platform as a way to reach your guests because it contains the highest quality images of their creations, as well as menu updates, new products, and IG-only peeks into the kitchen. There’s a clear tone on their account, emphasising their creations from the kitchen and the reactions they give to guests.
What’s the first thing you notice when you check out the Instagram profiles above? Their bio information and, one of the most useful features, Instagram Stories Highlights. IG Highlights are groups of stories that you can create as folder sections on your profile.
In most of the restaurants we chose for this post, the Highlights are front and centre and show guests what each restaurant brand is all about.
Unlike Instagram Stories that disappear after 24 hours, Highlights allow you to keep your content on your feed for as long as you want.
This means that once you post a story, you can save it in a Highlight. Think of it like an album or a folder.
Hiša Franko uses Highlights to showcase everything from their uniforms to their cat, Berta. Euskalduna Studio uses this feature to collect past stories that are still relevant for new and existing followers to view – like images from previous Four-Hands Dinners and saved Stories from users.
If you haven’t noticed, social media has become one of the primary forms of communication between restaurants and guests. Websites are essential, but more often than not, the first impression a customer has of your business is through your social media. 57% of customers would rather contact companies through social media or email rather than make a call.
With that in mind, yes, Instagram is more than good for your restaurant… it's necessary.
And restaurants and bars are basically built for Instagram. All of the delicious meals you prepare and drinks you make – it’s a visual feast. People eat with their eyes first and IG is your chance to whet their appetites and encourage them to make their next reservation.
You don’t have to rely on rainbow-coloured unicorn foods and physical spaces designed to inspire Instagram-worthy photos. Instead, focus on creating personalised guest experiences. Those are what guests are really after.
Pictures of beautiful food may be the staple of IG, but the best restaurant Instagram marketing goes beyond tasty pictures and engages the audience with creative content and brand storytelling.
Looking for content ideas to show off your restaurant or bar to the 500 million IG users waiting for you? Click here for our top 10 content ideas.