Instagram for restaurants

Instagram has recently launched a feature called ‘Stories’, and we think it could be of significant benefit to restaurants. But before we explain why, we’ve noticed that some of you are scratching your heads.

Doesn’t this sound familiar?

Actually, it does. Snapchat could legitimately claim to be the source of inspiration for Instagram’s fancy new offering, because the social media service that has proved a hit with the younger generation has been offering its users the ability to create their own stories for quite a while.

We’re not going to get into the debate about who owns the idea in this post, though. There’s a rather exciting opportunity for restaurants to explore, first…

What are Instagram Stories?

Instagram describes its new feature as the ability to “share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile”. In essence, that means you can string together a bunch of videos and photos that only last for 24 hours before being wiped off the face of the planet.

Stories come in the form of slideshows with Instagram cleverly and seamlessly gluing together any of the imagery you send to the current day’s story. You can also add text and scribble on the screen for reasons that will no doubt be abundantly clear to the Snapchat generation.

People who view your story can do so as often as they like throughout the 24 hour period. Just like… well, just like Snapchat.

Ahem. Moving on…

How to create an Instagram Story

Firstly, make sure your version of Instagram is up-to-date, then, open the app and look to the top of the screen. If any of the people you follow have created a story, you’ll see it presented as a circle with their username beneath. In the bar above, you’ll see a small icon containing a ‘+’ sign. Tap that to begin:

Instagram Stories button

You’ll be taken to the familiar Instagram composition screen where you can take a photo with one press of the big white button at the bottom or, if you hold said button down, create a video. Alternatively, pull down and you’ll be able to pick from recent photos.

Instagram Stories composition

Once you’ve taken your photo or shot your video, you can then add text or scribble on the screen with your finger by tapping the buttons at the top-right:

Instagram Stories add text

When you’re happy, press the big button with a tick in it, and your story is created. You can then continue to add photos and videos to the same story as the day progresses.

How can restaurants benefit from Instagram Stories?

Image-heavy social networks like Instagram have long been a key component of every savvy restauranteur’s marketing strategy. People love to view photos and watch video on social networks and there’s no better way to show everything that is great about your restaurant than by using something like Instagram to publish content that features your food and establishment’s finer details.

With Stories, you can go so much further. Here are just a few ideas to tickle your creative tastebuds:

  • A day in the life. Throughout the day, add photos and images to your story that depict the daily running of a restaurant. Show your followers the kitchen prep, the opening of service and what happens after the last diner leaves.
  • Staff interviews. Providing they’re happy to, why not take time out occasionally to have a quick chat with staff? Ask single questions and film the answer “what has been your highlight during tonight’s service?”, for example. You could do the same with diners.
  • Launch nights. Whether you’re opening a brand new restaurant or launching a new menu, take the opportunity to use Instagram as a method by which you can tell everyone the story of the big event.
  • Special offers and events. Show what people are missing out on by creating a story of your big promotion. Snap away all day and watch as Instagram turns it into an engaging slideshow for your followers.


We’ve offered just a few ideas above, but you will doubtless have others. Instagram Stories is in its infancy, but when you bear in mind that the Facebook-owned social network now has around 500 million active users, it is likely to take off, big time.

It’s time to tell your restaurant’s story!

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