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It’s no secret the foundation of a successful restaurant lies in a great customer experience. But in today’s digital world, the customer experience exists beyond the four walls of your restaurant. To stay competitive and grow your business, you must meet your customers where they are—online!
With 1 billion people (or potential customers) active on Instagram each day, Reels is a quick and easy way to reach, retain, and grow your customer base. With an already full plate, you might feel overwhelmed by adding restaurant marketing to your long list of to-dos, so we’ve outlined the ultimate guide for you to easily get started on Instagram Reels.
Instagram Reels are short-form videos (up to 60 seconds) designed to express creativity and bring your brand to life. Similar to TikTok, Reels is a medium where people go to participate in timely trends, discover new ideas, and quell boredom. A user-friendly platform, Reels provides AR effects, music, and text overlay capabilities, making it quick and easy to create discoverable content.
As you know, it’s critical to create a digital presence in this day and age to reach customers, both new and existing. Videos are all the hype right now, and they’re here to stay. Not only will Instagram Reels help you build your following and keep you top of mind with current customers, but creating this content could even be fun. Don’t take our word; let the numbers speak:
Your customers use Instagram to make decisions…
Instagram’s algorithm will reward your content…
After analyzing hundreds of restaurant videos on Instagram, we’ve compiled 27 powerful Instagram Reels ideas ready to use for your restaurant.
1. Introduce yourself and tell your story: Since Instagram Reels are designed for quick consumption, distill your role and restaurant with a captivating introduction. Aim to include a) your name, restaurant name, and location, b) your favorite dish on the menu, and c) a CTA calling your viewer to visit your restaurant or place an order.
2. Follow one of your employees for a shift: Take your viewer behind the scenes to follow one of your employee's “day in the life.” Overall, videos that showcase people seem to perform better on Instagram, so why not highlight a chef or waiter that makes the magic happen?
3. Record a timelapse while your team works: Running a restaurant takes more work than people realize, so what better way to make your restaurant memorable than showing your viewer the process? Make sure to add music to your timelapse!
4. Answer FAQs: Show your passion for your customers' experience by answering their frequently asked questions. Examples: Do I need a reservation? Where is parking? Do you offer gluten /dairy-free/ plant-based options?
5. Give a tour of your restaurant/kitchen: Give your viewer an incentive to visit by showcasing the unique experience your restaurant offers. Post a tour of your restaurant from the back of the house to the front of the house, showcasing delicious meals along the way.
6. Introduce your team: Humanize your restaurant by introducing your team. Consider using sitcom theme songs (example: Full House) as background music and having each team member do a funny movement. Or play into timely, humorous trends by introducing each team member by their astrological sign or “red flag”.
7. Offer cooking tips & tricks: Post educational Reels using your chef’s expertise with their best cooking hacks. Examples may include “How to chop veggies” or “Unexpected secret ingredients for making the best mac n cheese.”
8. Record a tutorial of one of your recipes: Play into your strengths by offering your viewer a chance to replicate your restaurant recipes at home. We’ve seen many food trends gain traction this year, so choose something easily replicable! Example: “How to make [restaurant name] signature dipping sauce at home.”
9. Give a sneak peek of a new menu item: Make your (potential) customers feel special by offering them a unique look into a new menu item. Consider making the Reels interactive by prompting the viewer to cast their vote between two menu items.
10. Record the before and after of plating a dish: Again, people love watching others make something. Using an overhead shot and popular audio, walk your viewer through the art of plating a dish.
11. Showcase your most-ordered dishes: Make your viewer hungry by posting Reels of your most-ordered dishes (including after shots of an empty finished dish).
12. Share customer reviews: It’s no secret that reviews can make or break your restaurant. Milk your positive reviews to the fullest by posting Reels with your customer’s feedback!
13. Highlight different menu items: Include your restaurant name in the Reels as you give the customer a tour of your restaurant’s range of menu items.
14. Test a trending song: Be shameless when it comes to timely trends! Jump on the viral bandwagon by using trending songs as background music for your foodie content.
15. Show how to place an order: Instead of just telling your audience to order from your restaurant, show your audience how to order from your restaurant, including what apps you’re listed on and top ordered dishes.
16. ASMR video showing how a delivery order is packaged: We’re not sure if ASMR will ever go out of style! Simply watch a few ASMR videos to get inspired, and use the soft sounds of packaging to create sensory Reels for your audience.
17. Unboxing of delivery orders: Show your audience what ordering from your restaurant will look like by unboxing a delivery order on Reels. Make sure food looks safely packaged and appetizing to inspire hunger and incentivize your viewer to order themselves.
18. Show the delivery order process: Give your audience an inside look of the delivery journey from receiving the notification on the app, cooking in the kitchen, and following the courier to his destination.
19. Favorite pairings: Give your customer guidance on what to order at your restaurant by posting the best dish and side combinations.
20. Play with a stop motion video with ingredients: Using your ingredients, create a satisfying stop motion video showcasing how each meal element is mixed together to create a final dish.
21. Share the values of your restaurant: Establish brand purpose by sharing Reels with the top 3 values that align with your restaurant—for example, sustainability, customer satisfaction, and equal opportunity.
22. Tell a story: Your audience is looking for authentic and vulnerable Reels that tell a story. Brainstorm exciting stories unique to your restaurant; for example, maybe you were inspired to open a restaurant because you spent your childhood cooking with your grandmother. Or maybe there’s a story about how your restaurant overcame the lockdown. Or maybe there’s a love story centered around one of your dishes!
24. Reply to people’s comments with Reels: Show your customers you care about what they have to say and are always listening to their questions, comments, and concerns. If someone comments about how delicious a specific dish is, show them footage of the chef making the meal behind the scenes! Or film your answer to a customer question.
25. Restock video: People on the internet absolutely love to watch satisfying organization or cleaning videos. Turn your tedious, everyday tasks into timelapse-style and relaxing Reels—for example, night shift cleaning, restocking produce, packaging videos, etc.
26. Share relatable content: When it comes to Reels, half the battle is simply watching and staying up to date on timely memes, trends, and cultural moments. Share something relatable! Example: That feeling when your [Restaurant name] order arrives.
27. Promote a special offer: Share discounts and promotions on Reels, or consider hosting a giveaway. Example: Tag your two best friends to get 20% off your order on Uber Eats.
If you made it this far, we’re proud of you! We hope these ideas and examples will help your restaurant get the ball rolling on Instagram Reels. Don’t hesitate to ask your younger staff to help manage and develop some ideas! And don’t forget to practice patience when it comes to posting. Even if your first 20 videos don’t rack up the engagement you were hoping for, you’re always one video away from a viral moment. Beyond patience, consistency is a significant factor in working the algorithm, so post as often as you can.
For more help on restaurant marketing, check out our favorite resources:
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