This is a rather simple answer and when i reveal it your going to say well duh. The answer is so obvious and it's so sad to see so many restaurants are using social media the wrong way. This idea and technique is going to put thousands of dollars in a restaurant owner’s pocket.
Take more pictures.
Yes it's that simple. Take more pictures on social media. Restaurants are one of the easiest things to capitalize on social media. People buy with their eyes not their mouth so what does that mean for your restaurant? Taking more pictures and putting them on social media is going to only get more people's eyes on your food. It's the exact reason why Burger King constantly puts ads on TV because their goal is for you to get extremely hungry by the time the show is over so you get up off your couch or call Uber Eats to get you whatever you'd like to eat. It may seem silly or it may seem stupid that they keep spending millions and millions of dollars on advertising however most hours of the day major restaurant chains have a line that far exceeds most people's allowable wait time. Most restaurants don't have budgets to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising every year especially on the TV space where ADS are drastically overpriced and you're not exactly sure when you're going to get your return.
So how is your restaurant going to make money using social media?
Start following local companies getting on the explore page or getting local companies to see your stuff is one of the fastest ways that you can put money directly in your pocket and if you don't think you need to follow other restaurants, you should follow all other local businesses.
If you really want to step up your game you can also send out messages to the local businesses letting them know that you're willing to give people that work in town a small discount. Why give a small discount? It's honestly quite simple you need to support the people that are going to support you if you have a restaurant in town most likely there are other small businesses in town. Supporting other businesses is a very easy sign to show that not only are you willing and welcoming to them, but, if you make them happy they're only going to send more people your way. Way too many people love going shopping in small towns and eventually they're going to get hungry if they're not from the area there's a very good chance they're either going to hop on Google or they're going to ask the people behind the counter what kind of food they like and who has the best restaurants in the area. Your goal is to get them to send them to your business so if that means you have to buy a couple of lunches to hand out around town it's so much easier than trying to pay for ads that you never know what your ROI is going to be.
I'm going to speak from personal experience with restaurants I've currently worked with. It's unbelievably common for restaurants to post images and have people in the area comment immediately oh my goodness I was just thinking about that. Once you start to build up your following by using relevant hashtags such as #yourlocaltown #yourlocaltownfood #foodporn #foodofthearea. Overtime and relentlessly posting while working with other businesses to have them promote you on their social media and you promote them is only going to give you a drastic increase in foot traffic. Yes, you're not going to see results overnight however, if you go to the gym once or four times a week you're only going to feel it a little bit but you're not going to see results. It's something that has to be done over the long-term not 3 months, not 6 months at least one year. Yes it may sound crazy that you have to dedicate a year but that's how long it's going to take.
But I don't take good photos, so now what?
I'm glad you brought that up not everybody is going to be good at taking photos however at your restaurant there's a pretty good chance you have some Young blood working for you. The chances are pretty good they're very good at taking photos and they're also pretty good at using the internet, usually if you set up your social media correctly you can allow them to post pictures on your social. A lot of times they offer to do it for free or they'll ask for a small amount of money in return which usually is money well spent, shortly are going to see a Blog written on my website listing out and explaining exactly how restaurants can use social media to make money and exactly how to do it. Yes that's going to be free, having one of these young kids take photos videos and post regularly on social media even if they do it while they're working is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get more customers.
If you really want to go and do something crazy go down to your municipalities in the area. You could bring the fire department, local police department and maybe even some of the Town workers some lunch. You're going to look like a rock star in their eyes and they're going to do free marketing for you, you're going to impress them with all of your food that you have and give them a widespread of things so that way they can try it. They're all going to go home at the end of the day and tell their families and their friends all about you. I have seen it work time and time again for restaurants that offering to go down to the local spots and giving a couple free meals or just giving a couple of free drinks is the easiest and cheapest thing a restaurant can do to get their name out.
Thank you for reading!