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Restaurants + Social Media = Takeout Revenue Boost

It seems like a relatively simple formula when looking at it at a glance - but it goes deeper. Especially in Canada, lockdowns are forcing restaurants to pivot to a takeout and delivery model, which in the long run will help ensure sustained revenue from restaurants, as your regulars can still get their favourites from you! But what about the small-time, family owned, or super local spots that either aren't household names or don't have digital exposure? Let's go over why building a social media presence/brand is the perfect step for these businesses to take during the "takeout takeover", and beyond that - how advertising takeout can help to create a sustainable revenue for your restaurant.

A blank takeout container, typically containing fries or salad.
Takeout Food Has Taken Over The Food Industry Since Covid-19 Began in 2020

The first and most important reason that a social media presence is vitally important for these businesses is because there is a direct link between customers viewing your products on social media and making impulse purchases. Some great examples of this are when you're not sure what to order for dinner so you open either Skip the Dishes, Doordash, UberEats or whatever your preferred delivery service is, and choosing something based on the available options - "ooooh that sounds good I'll order that!!"; I know I've done this before and I'm sure you have too.

If existing customers are alerted to your presence they will be more likely to make an impulse purchase from you, all because you posted a picture of some food saying "don't forget to order lunch! Takeout now available!". Over time this can equate to thousands of dollars in revenue a year.

Reason number two is rather simple, but it's the cheapest form of advertising! Radio ads can cost you hundreds of dollars to place and hundreds more to produce, and if you're going to make an ad for TV, you might as well properly size it for social media! Beyond it being the cheapest, it allows you to target your ads very specifically so that no ad dollars go to waste. In an industry where margins can be razor thin, every dollar counts and being able to maximize your return on ad spend is a huge priority.

The last reason is that it's simply easy. If you run a restaurant there is around a 98% chance you have a smartphone with a camera on it, and cameras these days are pretty high quality (most iPhones shoot videos in 4K and have at least 2 different lenses, a combination of 13mm, 26mm and 52mm), and if you're more adept at photography and editing most phones shoot pictures in RAW format as well which is easier for photo editing. To take a nice picture of some food, edit it slightly so the colours look nice and the food looks mouth-watering, and post it to social media should take you no more than 8 minutes from start to finish once you get used to the process!


Truly, it is very simple to get started on social media! Here are your first 4 steps!

1. It begins on Facebook, where you will be able to create an account which is then linked to any Instagram account you make, which is required to be able to run promoted posts/ads.

2. The next step is to build your content bank! Take that ever-useful smartphone of yours and snap 5 pictures (from different angles) of every dish that comes out of the kitchen for the next 2 workdays. After the shift, pick your favorite two of each dish and edit these photos so that they are clean, crisp and do your delicious food justice. Programs like Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop should be utilized if accessible, but if not, your phone camera will have basic editing capabilities! If you aren't confident in your ability to do these, hire a photographer! You will NOT be disappointed with the results, and might find yourself a new customer!

3. Create a content schedule - if you have 52 dishes, you can post 1 different dish per week! This is where to use the pictures of your dishes that you took, and to make sure you have ideas for more content to create such as employee features, flash specials, and featured menu items. Very important to add here are recurring weekly specials (such as Boston Pizza's Pasta Tuesday) as reminding customers of these can prompt them to make a reminder to order from your place on a specific day and/or spend money significantly more often than they otherwise may have.

4. Create any other social media profiles (LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, etc.) that you wish to use, and make sure to tweak your overall social media strategy and content to fit each different profile. For example, Instagram and Twitter focus more on putting out quick, engaging content. These platforms are extremely useful if you are wanting to share a quick update about the business, promote a featured menu item, and so on. One of the most commonly seen strategies is for businesses to really focus on stories and only post 2-3x per week, while running promoted posts/ads (e.g. Earls or Joey's in Winnipeg, Canada - maybe that's just our area or food choice though). However, if you are wanting to focus more on video heavy content such as cooking tutorials, or even to show what a day in the life of a restaurant owner is like, YouTube may be a better fit. Additionally, if you are looking to hire, connect with other restauranteurs and engage with the local business community, LinkedIn is the place to go! So for whichever platform(s) you use, if you decide that you're going to post everyday, make sure you have the variety of content ready or planned well ahead of time!

So there you have it, the four basic steps to get started on social media with your restaurant. As you can see toward the end, there are many different social media platforms you can choose to be on. However, starting off with Facebook and Instagram is ideal to increase revenue in the short-term, which can be extremely important in helping restaurants stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic in the meantime. After establishing a solid social media presence on these two platforms, you may find that these two platforms are enough for your business or you may not. How you want to use social media for your business is up to you in the end, but always plan content ahead of time and have an overall strategy, it'll not only save you time - it'll put more money in your pocket!

Some restaurants have turned into take-out and delivery only due to the pandemic!

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