(by Emma Collins)

If you’ve spent a lot of money and time running your restaurant, you’ve encountered many challenges. These problems can be customer complaints, a non-working oven, or problems in advertisements.

However, nothing has been as challenging as the outbreak of COVID. With zero or not enough customers, you rack your brains for marketing strategies to attract more people who can buy your food or drinks.

Some social media posts sell better than others. You’d notice that posts with the most brand engagement offer value in 3 ways: 

  • Giving information
  • Offering discounts 
  • Providing fresh content 

Here are some tested restaurant marketing ideas that work:

Online Cooking Classes

How Are Restaurants Marketing to Stay Afloat During COVIDNo wonder food hashtags are related to porn; they are addictive. Admit it. These hashtags #foodlover, #foodporn, and #foodgasm are commonly found on Facebook or Instagram posts. With the zoomed out features of smoking tuna seared, online cooking classes like BBC Food and the Kitchn Cooking School are just as entertaining as porn. 

These online classes which yield the most engagement are funny. Some of them have the most colorful food cinematography wherein you can almost smell or taste grilled juicy burgers or feel the crunch of crispy pork belly. #yummy


Stories sell. And what better way to tell a story than posting your meals on specific days of the week with hashtags like #MeatlessMonday, #TastyTuesday, #Winesday, etc

On Facebook, where stories are prioritized, these behind-the-scenes are a great way to make fresh content. These stories may last for only 24 hours, but they can be organized for viewing later on. Take a look at Lakaz Maman’s #WingWednesday Facebook story as an example.

How Are Restaurants Marketing to Stay Afloat During COVIDRemember that emotions drive purchase more than logic. And sincere emotions drive trust. You’ve seen it before wherein a restaurant tells stories as a #foodblogger on how they started operations, who their staff are, or how they choose fresh food from the market. 

When customers know the story of their food, they’ll notice more details here and there. When you see behind the scenes as a story, you’d be able to appreciate the effort involved in preparing the food. #storytime

Short posts

You can see users eager for fresh content on TikTok. This social media app is famous for its humorous and sloppy videos. If you want your restaurant or food to become viral at a swift pace, posting on TikTok is recommended.

How Are Restaurants Marketing to Stay Afloat During COVID 

From the latest #foodchallenge to #foodhack, you can post a challenge with colorful filters, customized text, and fun music. Just like what Chipotle did when they used “The Guacamole Song” music video along with the caption, “TFW guac is free. Online/i-app only 7/31 #guacdance Terms: chip.tl/avoday”. 

Promotions and gift cards

How Are Restaurants Marketing to Stay Afloat During COVIDSocial media promotions and gift cards are always enticing when you use:

  • High-quality photos
  • Catchy write-ups
  • Click-bait titles

Also, discounts would be a good idea to promote your restaurant’s family-sized carryout portions or staple foods. Something like, “buy one burger and get the second for free” works like a charm.

Most restaurants add beer or wine to their takeout menu as well. This addition is an attractive offer this pandemic customers don’t have to go out for their alcohol fix. #giftcardsavailable

Mixed posts

People who’ve liked your page know it’s a restaurant. They know which kinds of food you offer. Sometimes, people want to see other stuff than the usual meals you deliver, and listicle posts of #recipeoftheday or #foodmeme will make your page fresh.

How Are Restaurants Marketing to Stay Afloat During COVID
On Instagram, food industry posts receive the highest engagement and using a guide that works will get you even more followers.

Another way to switch up posts is by using polls to make people think. For example, if your restaurant serves alcoholic drinks, you can post good photos of different cocktails and let them choose what they like. You can follow it up with a comment asking why they chose that particular drink. Also, questions that spark positive conversations are valuable too for your page content. 

In all these social media posts, you’ll notice that reactions on your restaurant posts, other than your usual thumbs-ups, improve engagement faster. Content is indeed king, and people will tend to move toward relevant matters. #contentcreator

Giving back

How Are Restaurants Marketing to Stay Afloat During COVIDOne of your restaurant’s goals is to earn income. And when you’re giving back to your community, you’re bolstering the restaurant’s image. In this lockdown, many people have lost their jobs. 

Rather than throw away your restaurant’s leftover food, you can give it for free. You’d notice that companies with formal community programs boost employee morale and lead to better production. #freefood

We don’t know yet for sure what post-COVID will be like. Currently, the economy is recovering, a vaccine is on a rollout, and other countries are easing up social distancing measures. 

The pandemic has created an enormous shift for restaurants to digital marketing. Hyping your page with how restaurants marketing stays afloat during COVID through proven practices is better, but sustaining your business through first-rate food and services is always best.

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