These days, restaurants are not only expected to be on social media platforms but are also expected to do it well. Social media, especially Instagram, has changed the way restaurants do business. Millennials spend more money dining out than any other previous generation. They also account for more than 50 million of Instagram’s users. According to Restaurant Marketing Labs, millennials spend $174 a month at restaurants.

Local food magazine, Edible Indy, has experienced firsthand the benefits of social media. Instagram provides instant market research for smaller, locally owned businesses. On average, Edible Indy gains 100-200 new followers each week through interaction and by tagging restaurants. It’s a win-win for the publication and for the restaurant.

Cross promotion on both accounts (Edible Indy and the restaurant’s account) means that a person is more likely to follow both on Instagram and possibly go one step further: read the magazine or dine at the restaurant.

If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find countless articles with social media tips about what to share, when to share it, the best lighting, how to stand on the table to get just the right angle of your sandwich…. While these are important visual considerations, none of it matters if you have too many chefs in the (social media) kitchen.

For instance, take a restaurant chain that manages ten different Instagram accounts (one for each location). Each account averages less than a hundred followers and rarely shares content. The brand has the opportunity for thousands of followers, yet their posts are sporadic, forced, and difficult to find. There’s no consistent posting and the consumer is left to wonder if anyone really cares. Consumers no longer browse a restaurant’s website for the menu; instead, they head to Instagram first to see what the food looks like.

Café Patachou is an example of a restaurant brand that has successfully expanded while keeping their persona intact across social media platforms. There’s only one account for Café Patachou restaurants, even though they have six Café Patachou locations. It might be tempting to create an account for the Hazel Dell, 49th and Penn, and the Indianapolis Airport locations, but it becomes confusing to consumers as to which account to follow and tag when they eat at the restaurant. The same philosophy is applied to their artisanal pizzerias, Napolese. There are three Napolese locations, but only one Napolese Instagram account.


Image from @cafepatachou
Image from @cafepatachou
Image from @cafepatachou
Image from @cafepatachou

Another example of a brand knowing their audience and delivering quirky, fun, and interesting content is 21c Museum Hotels. With eight hotels, 21c may have considered having eight Instagram accounts, but they wisely chose to have only one. Their account is beautifully curated with photos from all eight hotels and the account provides one place for consumers to explore and interact with the brand.

If you search hashtags on Instagram, you’ll notice that guests tag the 21c account and then use the appropriate hashtag to represent the location where they stayed. This method makes it easy for the 21c social media manager to periodically check hashtags and re-share content, instead of checking an account for each location. Their one account has over 16,000 followers, so it’s obvious they’ve attracted and kept their visitors.


Multiple accounts are also burdensome to the person designated to manage the account. One robust account that encompasses all your locations is better than several lackluster accounts. You’ll also have more content to share because you won’t have to stretch it across multiple accounts.

Now that you have one account, who should be responsible? Too many people (or ‘chefs’) managing an Instagram account creates chaos. All successful restaurants share content from multiple sources, but it’s impossible to keep the profile consistent if more than one person has access and can post whenever they think about it. One owner will also prevent having to change the login credentials if an employee leaves.

A designated social media manager ensures that someone is responsible for responding to comments, good or bad. A series of complaints left in the comments unanswered is a surefire way to make a restaurant short-lived. Negative feedback is unavoidable, but the quicker you reply, the more likely that person is to be a repeat visitor.

There’s no magic number of posts per week, but generally, three posts are ideal if you’re able to maintain that pace. One high-quality post per week is more than sufficient. Quality over quantity wins consumers every time.A thoughtfully executed Instagram account with one person responsible for posting and planning content will reap endless benefits.

A thoughtfully executed Instagram account with one person responsible for posting and planning content will reap endless benefits.