Blog Article

How to Leverage User-Generated Content in Your Restaurant

People love social media and people love food. There’s a reason why #food and #instafood have 343 million and 148 million tags on Instagram respectively.

When it comes to choosing a restaurant, people do their research. Not only do they read reviews to learn about your menu and service, but they’re also on social media, looking at pictures of your food and atmosphere.


Food UGC


In fact, marketing research has shown that nearly half of diners have tried a new restaurant because of a social media post, and 22% said that a restaurant’s social post persuaded them to return for another visit. Other studies found that 18-35-year-olds spend the equivalent of five whole days a year browsing food-related images on Instagram, and 30% of them would be less inclined to dine at a restaurant if their Instagram presence was weak.

Social media gives you an easy way to engage with your customers, but it’s also an inexpensive way to promote your brand. True, managing social media accounts can be a full-time job (staging photography, editing, posting), but it doesn’t have to be if you leverage and share your customers’ content.

Basically, there are two types of user-generated content: content that you pay influencers to create, and content that your customers create and post with little to no financial incentives. Sharing your customers’ user-generated content is a great way to show your brand’s authenticity and make customers feel more connected to your restaurant.


Here's what your restaurant needs to know to leverage user-generated content:


How can I get my customers to post?

A lot of us are already taking pictures when we go to restaurants, whether it’s a picture of your drinks on a patio, Insta-worthy brunches, or unique coffee shop décor featuring some cute latte art.




To encourage your customers to share the content in one place, create a branded hashtag for your restaurant, and make sure you ask them to tag you in their posts.

If you really want to encourage customers to share content about you, consider offering a small incentive like a gift card or discount on their next visit. For example, have a draw for customers who post photos with your hashtag throughout the month or week and offer the winner a $10 gift card. In exchange, you’re getting a bunch of brand ambassadors sharing content to bring in potential new customers (not bad for $10).


But, make sure you give credit for their content.

If you do share your customers’ content, thank them and give credit for photos and include their social media handle in your repost. It’s a simple way of showing that you appreciate your customers and their creativity. This recognition is also important to continue building your customer relationships and grow loyalty.


What types of photos should I re-post?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this one. The types of photos you post and the amount of user-generated content you want to incorporate largely depends on your social media strategy and your brand’s personality.


Here are a few general practices to keep in mind:

  • Make sure any photos you repost are high quality when enlarged
  • Consider having a mix of content types, like ambience, food images
  • Use a social media planning tool (Later is a great one!) to schedule posts and preview your social feeds.
  • Do your best to keep consistent branding, colours, and filters
  • Maintain the same brand voice across your posts and captions
  • Don’t over-edit your photos
  • Understand what posts your audience engages with most
  • Keep a consistent posting schedule, and find the best times to reach your audience
  • Look at other restaurant Instagram accounts for inspiration
  • Always remember to give credit to the content creator
  • And, of course, be active and responsive to customer comments



Looking for tips to improve your customers’ experience in your restaurant? Check out our 7 Tips to Make Your Restaurant More Successful and how Dos Tacos Streamlined Their Restaurant Operations with Talech.


Adèle Richardson

Adèle Richardson

Adèle is a marketing content creator at Paystone. She likes cats, really good food, and hiking.