snapchat for restaurants

While you may think Snapchat is a social media platform reserved for people sending each other photos, the truth is it can work for brand marketing as well. Snapchat for restaurants can help you tap into a whole new market, bringing in new customers and rewarding loyal ones.

This platform is mostly used by teenagers and young adults, so if your restaurant caters to this age group, having a Snapchat restaurant profile is necessary. With its millions of daily users, it would be a pity for your restaurant not to be on there.

When using Snapchat for business, it’s vital to focus on its most notable feature: the snaps are ephemeral. You only have 10 seconds to impress your customers before the photo or video disappears forever. Below, I teach you how to use that time well to market your restaurant and boost your sales.

How to Create a Snapchat Profile for Your Restaurant

First, download the Snapchat app for iOS or Android. Click on the “Sign up” button that will show up at the bottom of the screen, then enter your restaurant name. Click on “Sign up & Accept.”

sing up for snapchat

After entering your birthday, the app will automatically suggest a username based on the name you added. However, it might not be a good fit, in which case click on “Change my username” to choose your own.

change restaurant name snapchat

Your username has to be your restaurant name because that’s how customers will recognize it’s you. However, the username might be taken since there are many restaurants with similar names. If that happens, try adding the location after it, as I did with “prontonyc.”

choose restaurant username snapchat

For the signup process to be complete, you will also need to set a password, add an email, and a phone number on which you will be sent a verification code.

How to Let People Know Your Restaurant Is on Snapchat

When signing up, you will get a unique URL and QR code. This is how users can discover your profile. If you click on the yellow user profile at the top of the app, you will see a pop-up with the option to save your snapcode in your photo gallery or share your profile URL.

share your snapchat url

Try to disseminate both using these tactics:

  • Add your Snapchat URL to your website, email signature, and other social media profiles
  • Share your username on posters in your restaurant
  • Turn your Snapcode into stickers and stick them onto every delivery bag
  • Add the URL to your takeout and dine-in menu
  • Add the Snapcode to table-top signage
  • Stick random Snapcode stickers around your restaurant, including in the washrooms and next to your POS station

Snapchat Restaurant Marketing Strategy

Create Your Own Snapchat Geofilter

A Snapchat location filter, most commonly known as a Snapchat geofilter is a graphic overlay that appears in specific locations or at certain events. Users can add these to their snaps.

You might have noticed that if your location settings are on when you take a photo on Snapchat and swipe for filters, different logo overlays will pop up. These are all geofilters from brands. Seasoned Snapchat users will also search for geofilters in locations or venues they visit, and this is an excellent opportunity for businesses to shine.

You can create your own Snapchat business location filter and have it appear at and around your restaurant to raise interest and attract new customers. You will have to pay for the geofilter to appear, but the cost is minimal, with a starting rate of $5.

The benefit of a Snapchat geofilter is that customers who are using Snapchat while at your restaurant may use it and disseminate it to their friends. Moreover, if you select a larger area around your restaurant, people might discover it by accident and decide to visit you.

To create your own Snapchat geofilter, you can go to Settings in the app and then choose On-Demand Geofilters. However, I recommend doing this on your computer. Just go to www.snapchat.com/create/, scroll down, and select Community filters.

create community filter snapchat

Then, select Geofilter.

add snapchat geofilter

Depending on your location, you can either customize your geofilter using their templates or upload your own. I’ve made mine in Canva and then just uploaded the design here. I went for a Halloween themed one, which you could create if you’re organizing a Halloween party at your restaurant.

create snapchat geofilter

Next, you have to choose the location where you want the filter to show up and submit it for review. You will be notified on your email when the filter has been approved.

set map for geofilter

Offer Snapchat Exclusive Discounts and Perks

In terms of how to increase the number of customers in your restaurant, no strategy works better than promotions. The advantage of Snapchat marketing is you can offer limited promotions that expire fast and create urgency. Knowing they need to “get them while they’re hot,” people will keep an eye on your Snapchat profile.

You can post snaps to your story (more on that later) with discounts that disappear when the story does (24 hours), or that can only be redeemed by the first 20 people who show the snap to their waiter.

You can also incentivize your customers to snap at your restaurant by giving them a discount or a freebie. If you want to stand out, whenever someone adds you as a friend on Snapchat, send them a “come and visit our restaurant” snap featuring a unique coupon or discount code. This feels personal and exclusive, which people like.

Snapchat is all about personal and intimate interactions, so make people feel special by sending them “secret” codes they can redeem for their first online order or perks like a free drink or free delivery.

You Might Also Like: 15 Unique Restaurant Promotion Ideas that Will Increase Loyalty

Use Snapchat Gamification

Gamification is a great way to make your marketing efforts more attractive and interactive. You can easily do this on Snapchat by hiding a discount code somewhere in a snap. Challenge people to find it before the snap expires. Those who find the code can use it to redeem a cool prize.

You can also do something more elaborate, like a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood. Use it to promote other local businesses and show you’re an active member of the community. Hide clues in different places, start with a hint for the first clue, and as people discover them, they can send you snaps of them to get the hint for the next clue. Include multiple prizes along the way, so even people who don’t finish the hunt can enjoy something.

You Might Also Like: The Best Restaurant Gamification Tips & Secrets that will Drive Customer Loyalty

Add to Your Story

Like I’ve mentioned above, Snapchat stories last for 24 hours and they’re the best way to communicate with your friends without continually spamming them with private snaps. While a private snap every once in a while can increase loyalty and provide a nice personal touch, you should frequently use Snapchat stories to grow your profile.

To post to your personal Snapchat stories, go to your profile on the app, and tap on “Add to My Story.”

add to your snapchat story

Add to Our Story

“Our story” is different than “my story” because it’s public (your stories can only be seen by your friends) and it can last more than 24 hours. If you’re wondering how to attract nearby customers to your restaurant, look no further than this feature.

To post a snap to “our story,” go to your profile on the app, and tap on “Add to Our Story.”

add to our story on snapchat

The snap will appear in your location on the map, and in stories and search results. Think of it as a group of people contributing to painting a picture of a specific location from different perspectives.

This can serve as great marketing for your restaurant when you’re hosting an event, for instance. Encourage people to post their snaps to “Our story” and post some yourself. This might attract new customers that happen to be nearby and checking their Snapchat.

Your story is a great place to inform people about your business, including new menu releases, and in fact, anything related to your food. Since Snapchat is so instant and ephemeral, you don’t have to cosmeticize your posts like you would for other social media platforms. People like authenticity.

So, whenever there’s a new addition to your menu, or you’ve added a limited seasonal item, snap about it to build anticipation. Snap videos of it being prepared by the chef, photos of the finished product, and maybe even a discount code for early birds.

In 2017, Snapchat introduced Context Cards which allows businesses to include links and other useful information like opening hours and reviews in their Snaps. Any customer viewing that snap can swipe up for more information and even make a reservation at your restaurant directly from the app.

However, context cards are not available everywhere, so whether you can use this feature or not depends on where your restaurant is located. If you can use it, I would advise adding a link to your online menu in some of your snaps.

However, adding it to all of them will come off as too promotional. As I said, people appreciate personal and authentic content on Snapchat, so refrain from doing it too often.

Share Photos of Your Staff

To tap into the more personal aspects of Snapchat, share other snippets of life at your restaurant that don’t necessarily relate to your food. They can be behind the scenes photos or selfies that your staff takes using the filters Snapchat provides. It will humanize your business and make customers feel closer to you.

Organize a Snapchat Takeover

In a similar vein, you could take it one step further and organize regular takeovers of your Snapchat account by different employees like your chef, hostess, or server. How do these takeovers look? That person will document their activities for a day (or more) and share interesting tidbits with your friends.

Your customers will get a unique insight into how the servers set up the tables, how the chef cooks the food, and how the restaurant looks at closing or early in the morning when you open up.

If you have the funds, you can contact a local food blogger or influencer and propose that they do a takeover. That way, you will get exposed to their audience as well.

You Might Also Like: Restaurant Influencer Marketing Guide: How to Do It and Why

Implement a Fun Referral Program

Snapchat for restaurants can feature referral programs too. You can ask customers whether they’d like to send a snap to a friend featuring a discount code so they can both get 20% off their meal. This means a new customer for you and a chance to turn an existing customer into a loyal one.

Try Snap Ads

Snap ads play between stories and last for no more than 10 seconds. Users can also skip them if they wish. This is usually something that big brands use, and as a small restaurant, you might not have the budget for an ad on Snapchat.

However, know you have the option to use a feature called “Promote Local Place” within the Snapchat Ads Manager. This uses location-based targeting and will allow you to have your restaurant featured on Snap Map with additional business information useful to your customers.

To start creating an ad, you need a Snapchat business account. To create one, go to ads.snapchat.com/instant-setup/, and enter your business name, business email, and name.

add business on snapchat

Next, select the country and currency, and add your business phone number.

customize business on snapchat

For me, a screen popped up next, asking me if I would be interested in some free credit depending on how much I spend on my ads. This might not pop up for everybody, but it’s worth investigating if you plan on spending more on Snapchat.

free credit snapchat

Finally, you will see a screen with the types of ads you can create depending on your goals. Choose “Promote Local Place” for the feature mentioned above or investigate the others if they sound better for your restaurant.

types of ads on snapchat

You will be prompted to search for your business. If you can’t find it, click on the “Can’t find your place?” link for more information on how to suggest a Place Listing addition.

add business on pinterest map

Another interesting type of Snapchat ad you can try is the Website Visits one. Just add your website URL and choose whether you want to import photos from your website to start customizing the ad. This is great for restaurateurs who want to promote their food ordering business and bring more people to their website.

website visits ad on snapchat

Bottom Line

Snapchat for restaurants can be your new marketing tool if you want to attract young customers and connect with them online. By drawing them in with exclusive offers and unique content, you will convince them to snap at your restaurant, share your snaps with their friends, and look for your geolocation filters whenever they’re nearby.

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 delivers business-optimized content to help restaurants boost sales and grow their brand.

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