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April 18, 2022

Instagram hashtags — How to use them to promote your restaurant

How do you find the best, most popular hashtags for your restaurant, cafe or bar? Learn how to search for and use Instagram hashtags for your business.
April 18, 2022

With over 1,100 photos posted on Instagram every second, it’s difficult for restaurants and bars to stand out. 

If you want to increase your post reach quickly, add hashtags. Just one can increase post engagement (how many people see and interact with your post) by over 12%. That’s just one #. Imagine what 10 would do. 

The key is knowing the right hashtags to use for your bar or restaurant that will boost reach and increase engagement. But how do you find the best hashtags for your restaurant? Which hashtags are the most popular right now? And should you include them in the comments or the caption? 

We’ve answered these questions and more in our comprehensive guide to Instagram hashtags for bars and restaurants.        

The power of hashtags for restaurants and bars 

With over 1.2 billion monthly active users projected by 2023, Instagram is one of the most important social media platforms for the foodservice industry.

How can you get more people to see your posts, interact with your profile, and ultimately make a booking? Hashtags are your secret weapon for getting more eyes on your account — especially eyes from people who haven’t followed your restaurant or bar yet. 

By continually sharing engaging content and focusing on niche hashtags (more on that later), you can optimise your posts and be seen by more people. 

With your restaurant’s Instagram business account, you can track metrics for each post. That means you can see how well each post performed and use the data to refine your social media strategy. If you’re not tracking hashtags, you’re missing out on valuable information that could increase engagement. 

Just like knowing more about your restaurant guests helps create better guest experiences, determining which hashtags bring in the most likes, comments, and replies helps you reach a wider audience. 

If you have an Instagram business account and use hashtags in your posts, follow these 4 steps to see how effective they are at reaching new flowers. 

  1. Grab your phone, go to Instagram and open a post. 
  2. Tap ‘View Insights’. 
  3. Find the section called ‘Impressions’. Here you’ll see how people found your post. The sections are usually ‘Home’, ‘Explore’, ‘Hashtags’ and ‘Other’.  
  4. Under ‘Hashtags’, you’ll see how many people found your profile post through the hashtags you used.

Using focused hashtags (specific words like #ginandtonic, not #cocktail) increases your chances of landing on the Explore page. With over 200 million Instagram accounts visiting the Explore page daily, you want to be on that page. 

The Explore page is what you see when you tap the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the app. 

Instagram chooses content to display based on what the app thinks you’re interested in. If you’re using hashtags related to what people already search for, you have a better chance of showing up on their Explore page. 

How to look for hashtags for bars and restaurants 

When the hashtag first came to play in 2007, the rule was to use as broad of a hashtag as possible. 
Nowadays, the broader hashtags have more posts, and you’ll get lost if you try to compete with generic tags such as #restaurant with over 49,906,897 posts.

Why specific, smaller-volume hashtags are better for restaurants and bars 

There are 2 reasons why focused hashtags are better than wider, more generalised tags:

  1. Better chance of being seen. Take #food for example. If you scroll through the 481 million posts with that hashtag, you’ll find pictures of people making food, restaurants, random quotes, memes, and several guys posing awkwardly on the beach. We’re still not sure why they #food… but the point is, if you slap #food on your next post, it’s going to drown in the sea.  

  2. Better chance of being followed. When you use specific hashtags to identify your post, someone looking for what you’re posting is A) more likely to find it and B) more likely to follow you because you posted something they’re actually interested in. Take a photo of a Negroni for example. #Cocktails is way too wide (over 33 million posts). #Negroni has 300K posts… still too wide. #Negronilovers has 12.7K. And all of those posts are about that specific cocktail… not guys on the beach. With that specific hashtag, people are more likely to engage with your post because it's exactly what they wanted to see.

Tricks to finding and using the right hashtags

  1. Go for mid-level hashtags. As we mentioned above, avoid the # with millions of posts in them. Use hashtags with a range of 5K–100K posts. If you find the sweet spot between too low and too many, you have a better chance of increasing post engagement. 
  2. Use up to 30 hashtags in a post. Instagram allows 30 hashtags per post. But our in-house social media expert suggests 15–20. The more you use, the more likely your post will be seen. 
  3. Change your hashtags. Instagram doesn't like it when you use the same set of hashtags on every post. Mix it up. Our expert suggests creating different blocks of hashtags and saving them on your phone. That way, you have them ready and you’re not creating them from scratch every time or repeating the same set over and over again.
  4. Include location-based hashtags. Location-based hashtags are extremely important for restaurants and bars. What are location hashtags? It’s when you put the name of a city in front of (or behind) the word restaurant or bar. Take Liverpool for example, #liverpoolrestaurant is a much smaller hashtag than #restaurant or #liverpool. This means that someone interested in restaurants in Liverpool is more likely to find your post. 
  5. Research what’s relevant to your niche. Instagram is all about speaking to your audience, and it’s no different with hashtags. Hashtags have to match your post. Don’t do something weird like #love in a post about a new menu item. Instead, make the hashtag specific and relevant to your audience.
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How do you find out what hashtags are popular?

The last thing you want is to post and have it go unseen. Adding the right hashtags to your restaurant’s Instagram account is the difference between reaching new potential customers or logging in and seeing zero hearts. 

Don’t just slap on a few hashtags and hope for the best. It takes time, research, and energy to find and test the best hashtags for your business. 

We asked Catarina Coelho (content marketer and social media expert) for her top tips on how restaurants and bars can track down the best Instagram hashtags.

To find the most popular hashtags for restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes:

  1. From the app, go to the Explore tab (the little magnifying glass). 
  2. Type in one word related to your business. Start with a broad keyword like ‘restaurant’ or ‘bar’. 
  3. Now, you’ll see the top accounts and top posts associated with that keyword. Tap ‘Tags’ on the menu bar. 
  4. You’ll see ideas for hashtags and the number of posts in each of them. 
  5. You can either scroll and find hashtags that match your business or refine your search. 
  6. To refine your search, start by adding your city in front of or behind ‘bar’ or ‘restaurant’. For example, #restaurantslondon has 25.3 K posts. That’s a lot, but it’s not in the millions. Your post has a chance of finding an audience. 

Another great way to look for bar and restaurant hashtags is to see what your community (audience + competitors) is using

Plus, if you’re working on being more sustainable, look up hashtags about that. Always think about how you can expand your hashtag search and reach a new audience. 

There are also tools like Hootsuite that search for hashtags and save you from doing the manual work.


How can restaurants use hashtags to boost engagement 

Instagram captions have a limit of 2,200 characters. Some people like to include their hashtags in the caption because it makes the post longer and forces people to interact with it for an extra second.

However, we don’t think it looks so nice to have a chunk of hashtags after your caption. It looks a bit desperate. 

To not look spammy, add hashtags as a comment under the post. That means you’ll publish your post and then comment on it — pasting your hashtags.  

Pro tip: Our social media manager keeps a note on her phone with several blocks of hashtags. That way, when she posts from Superb’s Instagram account, she can copy and paste the block as a comment. 

Pro pro tip: If the look of hashtags is way too cringe for your brand, here’s a way to have them hidden from anyone who interacts with your post. 

In the first comment under your post, write ‘Hashtags’. Then, as a reply to that comment, add the actual #. This way, the tags won’t show up unless someone taps on the reply. 

What are the best hashtags for restaurants and bars 


#restaurant #food #restaurantlife #gourmet #restaurantowner #finedine 

Specific to Instagram:

#instafood #foodphotography #foodstagram #onthetablefood #tastethisnext #instachefs 


 #restaurantcountry #restaurantcity #italianfood + in your language like #ristoranteitaliano


#restaurantdesign #restaurantdecor #restaurantinterior  


#sundaybrunch #veganbreakfast #cleaneating #pizzeria

You asked — We answered 

How do hashtags work on Instagram? 

Instagram hashtags work a lot like folders. Within each folder, you’ll find posts, stories, reels, and videos. This makes it easy for users to find what they’re interested in. 

Hashtags fuel the Instagram algorithm — the mysterious brain behind the app that analyses everything you like and suggests content based on that. 

Do hashtags still work on Instagram in 2022? 

Instagram hashtags are still relevant in 2022. If you’ve given up on them, it may be because you’ve been going about them incorrectly. Sorry. 

Instead of sticking to the broad, generic keywords that were the rage of 2011, go for restaurant- and bar-specific hashtags that put your post in front of an interested audience. 

Should I add hashtags to every Instagram post? 

Yes. We wrote an entire blog post about it because it’s important. 

Every post, reel and video your restaurant or bar posts should include relevant hashtags. 

Is it OK to use the same hashtags over and over again? 

Avoid using the same set of hashtags over and over again. 

First of all, if you use specific hashtags, there’s no way that the same block works for every single post. 

Secondly, spending the extra time to switch out hashtags and research which ones are working will increase post engagement and bring more followers to your account. More followers and more profile interaction equal a better chance of getting new visitors to your restaurant, bar or cafe. 

How many hashtags should a restaurant use on an Instagram post? 

Instagram suggests using 3–5 hashtags per post. But we think a limit of 15–20 is better. 

Instagram’s maximum is 30 hashtags. 

Using more hashtags is the best strategy for increasing reach and engagement on Instagram posts. This may change as the app moves to a more focused content feed. To stay ahead of any algorithm changes, start using super-focussed hashtags on your posts now. 

Should you put hashtags in the caption or comment section on an Instagram post? 

It’s totally up to you where you put hashtags. According to Instagram, both the caption and the comments are fine. 

If you do post them as a comment, do it as soon as you publish your post. 

Keep exploring

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