restaurant influencer marketing vectors
by Laura-Andreea Voicu

Are you looking for a high-return marketing strategy for your restaurant? If you want a big stream of new customers, you must try restaurant influencer marketing. Food influencers with a loyal following have the power to persuade their fans to become your clients.

This article is a complete guide to influencer collaborations for restaurants. We show you the what, the why, and the how. Read on.

What is restaurant influencer marketing?

Restaurant influencer marketing is a type of marketing where restaurants partner with relevant influencers to build brand awareness and sell more of their food to their target audience.

Read more: 10 Tips to Devise an Innovative Marketing Strategy for Your Online Food Business

Influencer marketing for restaurants: what’s the catch?

What is a food influencer? A food influencer is a person who has gained an online following by being really good at what they do, be it reviewing restaurants, trying new recipes, or testing different kitchen gadgets.

The main advantage of collaborating with influencers is that they provide a big conversion rate because the audience trusts their opinion.

Here are a few restaurant influencer marketing statistics that will convince you to try this strategy for your business:

  • 81% of consumers have researched or purchased products or services recommended by an influencer;
  • 39% of Gen Zs tried a new restaurant solely based on an online influencer’s recommendation;
  • Social media influencers determine the dining decisions of 36% of U.S. diners;
  • Influencer marketing campaigns generate an average of $5.78 profit against every dollar spent, some seeing as much as $18;
  • Around 32% of businesses experience the highest ROI on Instagram influencer marketing;

Read more: Social Media Restaurant Statistics to Profit from

The benefits of collaborating with restaurant influencers

restaurant influencers

If you are not yet convinced that you should fit restaurant influencer marketing into your budget, check out these persuasive benefits:

  • Increase brand awareness: if you just opened your restaurant, collaborating with food industry influencers will speed up the process of making you a well-known name in the community;
  • Generate more engagement for your social media profiles: more engagement generates more visibility and more sales. Ensure you reply to comments and messages to keep people engaged;
  • Cost-effective: While the collaboration will be rather costly compared to your usual organic social media posts, the results will make the investment worth it;
  • Reach a new audience: you will get access to a new pool of customers that you can convince to become customers;
  • Build more trust with your community: an influencer automatically transfers the trust their followers have in them to you when they recommend your restaurant. Therefore, even if people don’t make a reservation instantly, they are likely to remember you when they plan their next outing;
  • Significantly increase sales: the end goal of restaurant influencer marketing is to sell more of your food. Have the influencers you collaborate with review your food to tempt potential customers to make a reservation or order online;

How to find and pick social media food influencers

For your restaurant influencer marketing campaigns to be successful, you need to collaborate with influencers who share your values and who have the biggest influence over your community.

Where to find restaurant influencers

If you are not that active on social media and don’t already have an idea for an influencer relevant to your area, use these tips to find one:

  • Find out who your followers are following: chances are that the people who follow your social media profiles are also fans of local food influencers. Search your list until you identify people passionate about food with a big audience;
  • Do a local search: the classic Google search may also turn out relevant results for restaurant influencers around your location;
  • Try out influencer agencies: you can go to a food influencer agency like Foodie Tribe, or you can browse Instagram by yourself using hashtags that interest you like #italianrestaurant, #chinesefood, or #thaieatery. Remember that based on your cuisine, you might have to look specifically for healthy food influencers or fast food influencers. Not everyone will be a perfect fit.
  • Use influencer databases: NeoReach offers a free influencer search tool that allows users to search through influencers or upload and analyze their own. With over 40 available filters, including keywords, social platforms, profile performance, and audience demographics, the platform provides all of the tools needed to find the perfect influencers for your influencer marketing campaign.

How to pick the best restaurant social media influencer

Not any person who has a big following will be a good fit for your restaurant. For example, a person who only talks about beauty products won’t be as convincing when recommending restaurants.

Use these tips to pick the best influencer for your business:

  • Choose local: realistically, you can only serve people in your location, not in the next town over. Therefore, influencers that have a following in a different place than yours will not bring you the results you hope for;
  • Review past collaborations: check out their social media to see if they have collaborated with other restaurants in the past and how that worked out. Would you enjoy a similar experience?
  • Check if they fit your brand: your values must align with the influencers for their recommendation to work. For example, if you run a meat-based restaurant, you can’t have vegan influencers promote you;
  • Ensure they have a passion for food: their account should prove they appreciate eating to qualify them to recommend eateries to others. Look out for food bloggers, travel influencers, chefs, fitness influencers, local foodies and even tech enthusiasts;

5 steps for the best food influencer campaigns

Now that you know how helpful influencer marketing can be for your restaurant, check out these tips to ensure you make the most out of this new advertisement strategy:

1. Choose a goal

As with any marketing campaign, if you want to see results, you need to set goals you can track. What are you trying to achieve and in what time frame? Here are a couple of examples:

  • Increase restaurant traffic by 30% in the next two months;
  • Increase sales by 10% in the next month;
  • Increase online orders by 15% in two weeks;

Ensure your goals are also supported by technology. You want to be ready to offer an amazing customer experience when influencers send clients your way. For example, if you’re going to increase your number of online orders, you need the free and efficient online ordering system from GloriaFood.

Leverage technology to ensure your restaurant influencer marketing campaign’s success Install an online ordering system to your website for free

Read more: How to Set Restaurant Goals and Lead Your Business to Success

2. Invite influencers to your restaurant

After you’ve researched the best influencers in town, it’s time to learn how to ask for collaboration on Instagram or any other social media platform you’re using. As a rule of thumb, focus your efforts on just one platform that works best for your following at the beginning, especially if you’re short on cash.

Crafting an enticing proposition is the next big step. It doesn’t matter if you sell a tiny product like a hairpin or if people buy dissertation services from you online, you must create a compelling value proposition.

You can approach them:

  • Through direct messages on Instagram or private messages on Facebook;
  • Through their website if they provide one in their description;
  • At their preferred email address as they would usually have it listed on their profile for collaborations.

Remember to see them as your brand partners and treat them with extra care. Your goal is to make this a long-term relationship. They will be brand ambassadors of your restaurant that will help you thrive with their influencer marketing results.

3. Decide the campaign details and budget

According to the budget you have available, you will negotiate with the influencers on how much content they will post to promote you. The pricing will depend on:

  • Type of posts, such as story, reel, post
  • Number of posts
  • The platforms where the content will be published

Here are a couple of ideas for restaurant influencer marketing content that converts:

  • Invite them to your grand opening. If you’re a brand-new restaurant, one of the most effective ways of creating buzz around your restaurant is to throw a lavish grand opening where you invite local influencers.
  • Have them taste your new menu or dish. If you’ve recently changed your menu or introduced a new dish, call on local foodies to taste them first.
  • Give them a special code to offer a discount to their followers. Special offers look good for both you and the influencer. The good news is that if you give them a code, you can track your return on investment easily.
  • Offer them a complimentary meal. In exchange for a review, of course. Make sure they’re aware of that but at the same time, don’t feed them (pun intended) what to write. Let your food and service speak for themselves.
  • Bring them behind the scenes. Everyone loves peaking behind closed curtains to see what people (in this case restaurants) are hiding. Take a food influencer in the kitchen and have them record your chef preparing a popular dish.

restaurant influencer marketing

4. Run and monitor the campaign

While the food influencers publish the agreed open posts, keep an eye on the engagement. How are people responding? You may find opportunities to improve to persuade even more people to become your clients.

5. Analyze the restaurant influencer marketing campaign’s results

To ensure you get your money’s worth, you must perform an analysis at the end of each campaign. Here is what you should measure:

  • Number of followers and social media activity
  • Website traffic
  • Number of table bookings
  • Number of online orders

You can easily monitor restaurant data by using the Reports module from GloriaFood. In just a few minutes, you get access to invaluable data that will help you discover improvement opportunities.

Monitor your influencer marketing campaign’s success with restaurant data analytics Use the free Reports module from GloriaFood

Read more: How to Use Restaurant Predictive Analytics to Drive Revenue Faster

3 Tips for successful restaurant influencer marketing

Collaborating with influencers can be extremely beneficial, but it may also turn detrimental to your reputation if you don’t do it right. Follow this advice to ensure you achieve success:

Create authentic sponsored content

People can tell when a review is fake and will not trust it. You want influencers to share their honest opinion so people can relate with them and trust their recommendations.

Even if the post is marked as promo as per the law, encourage influencers to be open about your collaboration.

Set clear expectations

Many problems in a partnership stem from bad communication. Ensure you have an open line of communication with them to solve any problems that may arise during your collaboration. Be clear about what you are hoping to achieve and what you expect from them.

Foster a long-term relationship

If the campaign is a success, try to maintain a relationship with the influencers. Maybe you will need to collaborate with them in the future or maybe they become big fans of your restaurant and promote it without pay.

Final Words

Restaurant influencer marketing can be a fantastic tool for not only promoting your business but also increasing your sales. Ensure you heed all the advice you found in this article to achieve the best results.

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This article is a guest post.

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Laura-Andreea Voicu
Laura-Andreea Voicu

Laura-Andreea Voicu is an experienced content writer with a knack for marketing and SEO. She creates guides and resources designed to help restaurants grow their presence online and boost sales.

She has been featured on the Oracle Food and Beverage Blog and wrote for Search Engine Journal, Clutch, Sender, Venngage, Quickbooks, and many more.

Find me on LinkedIn.