Grow your brand, grow your customer base through social media

We get it. As soon as you read the title of this article you thought: “That’s great, but I just don’t have time.” And the truth is, most foodservice operators don’t have the time to think about marketing. With menu planning, rostering, ordering, managing staff, filling in on the floor and all the admin that comes with running a foodservice business, it’s no surprise marketing sometimes falls by the wayside.


But we’re here to give you the crash course in brand building through social media so you can put together a plan that markets your business. And the best thing is, it will only take 15 minutes per week.


Instagram and Facebook are huge platforms for the foodservice industry. So how do you use it for yourself? We’ve put together some basics on building your brand with Facebook and Instagram.


Step 1: What is your brand?

Obviously, you can’t market your brand if you don’t know what you stand for. Are you a family friendly café with facilities for kids? A gastropub set up perfectly for dates? A corporate catering company targeted at the business lunch crowd? Or maybe a hotel with a lovely in-house restaurant?


By having a clear understanding of your brand, you will know who you are trying to attract and what you can, and should, offer them. And don’t try to copy others, just be yourself and ensure all of your posts reflect exactly who you are.


Step 2: Follow a formula for success

Social media can be a great sales tool, but you can’t expect to use it to generate sales from the get go without providing value to your customers first. We recommend, when planning content, a 4:3:2 rule.


  • 4 posts should add value for your ideal customer (this could be providing pictures of your menu, pictures of your specials, tips on things happening in the local area, a trick to the perfect poached eggs)
  • 3 posts should create connections with your ideal customer (this could be sharing posts from existing customers or introduction posts of your employees, so they feel like they ‘know’ you)
  • 2 posts should promote or sell your service (this is where you can push specials, encourage people to use promo codes, or promote specific events).


Your aim is for your followers to feel like they have a relationship with you, let them get to know you, rather than push your services on them. It is a slow burn but if you persevere it will pay off.


Step 3: Encourage others to get involved

One of the most powerful tools for foodservice venues is the ability to reuse customer content. Instead of taking the photos yourself, encourage your customers to share their meal online and tag your venue (include your tag on your menu). Then regularly reward customers by resharing (and tagging) their content. It gives you free content, makes your customers feel valued and encourages potential customers to come and join the fun.


If you set aside 15 minutes at the start of each week to create, share or schedule posts for the next seven days, you won’t need to think about it again until next time! You can even use an online tool like Postify to schedule your posts throughout the week so you don’t even need to login every day.


Just remember, be yourself, follow the formula, and encourage your customers to get involved.