How Restaurants Can Benefit From Facebook

Facebook Marketing

We’ve already established that if you’re a business owner, your brand needs to be on Facebook. There are very few exceptions to this rule.

Make no mistake, however, certain industries can benefit more than others. There is no industry with more Facebook marketing opportunities than the food industry. It is a perfect fit.

That’s why it always saddens me when I see a local restaurant (this includes sit-down, fast food, bars/taverns and frozen yogurt — anyone who serves food) that either has no Facebook presence or does very little with it. The cost is little or nothing. The time commitment is minimal. The rewards can be enormous.

But I understand that Facebook marketing is a different language for some. So the purpose of this tutorial is to lay out in detail how restaurants can benefit from Facebook.


This is listed first for a reason. If you’re a restaurant, Facebook check-ins need to be part of your strategy. Period.

You aren’t familiar with checkins? It’s simple. When someone comes to your restaurant, they can “check in” on their phone through their Facebook app.

Facebook Checkin

When I check in at a restaurant, it is a recommendation to all of my friends to go there. Or it may be a suggestion for my friends to meet me there at that moment.

But the power of the check-in isn’t only in the recommendation. The check-in is connected to your Facebook page. So when I see that my friend checked in at Kunjani Coffea, I can click on the link to be directed to their page. From there, I can get more information about where they are and choose to “like” the page.

By checking in, your Facebook fans act as free advertisements. Use them!

Read More: How to Create or Claim a Place on Facebook.

In-Store Marketing

Sure, you could create or claim a place and just assume people are going to check-in to your restaurant. Or you could be proactive about it and encourage the check-in.

Put a sign on the wall. A card on each table. A mention on the menus. A line on the receipts.

Don’t forget to Check In on Facebook!

Along those lines, tell them to “like” you on Facebook. But don’t just say it, tell them why.

Like us on Facebook for exclusive deals!
Like us on Facebook for alerts on daily specials!

Also make sure that you have a vanity URL that is easy to remember and find. Otherwise, this direction won’t net in any new fans.

Read More: The Anatomy of a Facebook Page (more information about vanity URL’s)

Food Features and Specials

Why is your restaurant great? One reason is the food. You need to feature it in a positive light. A good opportunity for this is your special of the day. For bars and taverns, this could be the happy hour specials.

If you have a different daily lunch special, make it a habit to alert your fans every day a couple of hours prior to lunch what that special is. And take a nice, staged photo of that special that looks delicious. You want to inspire a response, so make sure the photo is high quality and easy to see.

Fro Yo Facebook Post

You want to set an expectation that you will be providing these lunch, dinner or drink specials at a certain time every day (or however you want it structured). This way, your fans will be looking for your updates. This can be particularly productive for professionals looking to organize lunch or after work activities.

Read More: How to Engage Fans on Your Facebook Page

Exclusive Deals

Why should someone like your page? Unless you have a well-known and well-marketed brand name, you’ll need to provide value. And, for the record, even those well-known brands need to provide value if they are going to reach their full Facebook potential.

Starbucks Facebook Deal

A great way to offer value on Facebook is with exclusive deals available only to Facebook fans.

10% off all orders today for our Facebook fans! Just tell your server that you saw this deal on Facebook!
Get a free beer today with your meal! Don’t tell anyone, this deal is only for our Facebook fans!

If you give your fans value, they’ll not only continue to like your page, but they’ll be actively engaged. They’ll keep looking for your updates and are more likely to interact.


Please, use photos! Don’t just write a status update of your special today. Take a picture of it! More than that, use photos as a way behind the scenes. Show your employees working and having fun. Show customers enjoying a good meal. Take pictures of different rooms. Snap a photo of your newest couch and invite your fans to sit on it!

Fro Yo Spot Orange Couch

User-Generated Content

Your page shouldn’t be all about you, my friend. It’s also about your customers! Ask them to share a photo of their latest meal. Snap a photo of your loyal Friday group that always eats at the restaurant. Make the relationship between your restaurant and your customers personal, and invite them to share their stories!

Questions and Engagement

You just launched a new menu item. Do people like it? You could guess… Or you could ask them!

Facebook has a built-in Questions app that is under utilized. You need to regularly use it to get feedback from your customers. What is their favorite flavor of frozen yogurt? What menu item should you add? Let your customers choose your special of the day. Give them power! It gets them involved and helps create brand loyalty.

Beyond using the Questions app, always make it a habit to ask your fans what they think. Whether it’s a photo or a status update or a link, don’t just throw it at them. Ask for their feedback!

Facebook Ads

So you’re a locally owned restaurant with only one location, drowning in a sea of national chains. You can’t possibly survive on Facebook, right? Wrong!

Your brand name may not be recognized out of state, but people know who you are in your town. And the most loyal brand advocate is often a local customer. Create an ad that is targeted only at the people in your town. Make sure the copy is clear that you’re local. And give them a nice, easy call to action.

Have you been to our restaurant in Parker? Click LIKE!

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If you run a restaurant and are struggling through tough economic times, I don’t want to hear you complaining if you are neglecting your Facebook opportunities. Many of your competitors aren’t using it effectively either. Take advantage of that. And I can guarantee you that those who are using it effectively are seeing a benefit in terms of customers, brand awareness and revenue.

What creative ways have you used Facebook to promote your restaurant?

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