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How to Work with Restaurant Influencers

How to Work with Restaurant Influencers

Picture of Jenny Day
Jenny Day

More than 56% of marketers who invest in influencer marketing work with local or micro-influencers.

First a bit about celebrity-centric promotions

Celebrity-centric promotions can boost a brand’s sales in powerful ways and help it appeal to more customers, especially younger ones who love to follow their favorite celebrities and influencers on social media. For example:

  • McDonald’s was one of the first to try this strategy in 2020 by working with Travis Scott to sell a meal that included some of the rapper’s favorite items: a Quarter Pounder, medium fries with barbecue sauce, and Sprite.
  • Raising Canes promotes two “Post Malone” locations where customers can order a Box Combo “the Posty way,” which comes with four chicken fingers, fries, no slaw, extra toast, two Cane’s sauces, salt and pepper packets, a Post Malone sticker and an Arnold Palmer to drink.
  • Popeyes launched a “hottie” sauce with hip-hop artist Meg Thee Stallion, who also has signed a franchise development agreement for “up to five restaurants.”
  • Justin Bieber worked with Tim Hortons’ director of culinary innovation to experiment with different flavor combinations for the Timbiebs Timbits, aka donut holes, until they landed on chocolate white fudge, sour cream chocolate chip, and birthday cake waffle

Is influencer marketing better than celebrity endorsement for restaurants?

If you can’t afford a global celebrity, that’s ok. A 2022 study showed that 53% of the Americans surveyed said they are more likely to buy a product from an influencer, compared to about 47% who said a celebrity is more likely to impact their behavior.

Local businesses typically do not need celebrities or global influencers, so it makes more sense to engage with local social media influencers (also known as micro-influencers). In fact, more than 56% of marketers who invest in influencer marketing work with local or micro-influencers.

How do I get an influencer to promote my restaurant?

Local influencers with around 10K+ followers can generate more visibility for your business. In exchange for their endorsement, the company provides the influencer with compensation in the form of cash or free products. Use local search terms and hashtags when searching for local influencers. #texasbbq turns up 728,691 Instagram posts which would be hard to research. However, narrowing the hashtag down to your city or zip code will narrow down your options.


What is the Average Profit Margin for a Restaurant?

How to create a successful restaurant-influencer collaboration

Whether you decide to opt for a traditional celebrity collaboration or prefer to partner with an influencer depends on your brand and your budget. When opting to work with an influencer, below are a few tips to consider.

Define your audience

When starting any marketing campaign, it is first essential to understand your target audience. Keep in mind how different groups will respond to different celebrities. By understanding your audience, you can ensure that the influencer’s public image aligns with your brand and values.

Advertise wisely

Join local groups on Facebook – Even most small communities have groups on Facebook now and if you post something to the group, everyone will see it. Search for community groups in your area at https://www.facebook. com/groups/

Branch out of Facebook – Facebook’s algorithm drastically limits the number of your fans who will see your content. If you are not on Instagram and Twitter, now is the time to add those platforms to your social media mix.

Tag locations – Tag your city in posts you make on Facebook and Instagram. Users engage with these feeds to find new content and since they likely live in your area, it’s a great place to find some potential new customers.

Interact with your followers – Create posts that get locals commenting to increase your reach on social media so their friends, many of whom likely are close by, will also see them.

Share user-generated content – If your customers are sharing photos about you, share them as well. Show other potential customers the delicious food they can enjoy by ordering from your restaurant.

Run promotions – It is important to frequently communicate all promotions and specials your restaurant is offering through the use of organic posts on your social media platforms.

Measure your results

Your marketing efforts should be measured to help you understand what is working for your business and what is not. We advise setting a few obtainable key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your restaurant marketing plan. A few examples of KPIs to measure include:

Sales – An increase in sales is a great indicator if you are converting targeted prospects into customers and customers into regulars

Customer retention rate – Studying repeat visits, spending, and reward usage lets you know if your customers are responding well to the new face of your brand.

Customer reviews – You can increase your customer retention rate by tracking your online review metrics on websites such as Google, Yelp, Facebook, and more. Focus on liking, sharing, and commenting on posts that mention the new promotions.

Social media metrics – Likes, clicks, comments, tags, and shares across your social platforms let you know if your social media messages are resonating with your audience and attracting new followers.

Website metrics – Your website is a great marketing tool. By monitoring your activity in Google Analytics, you can find out how many people visit your website, where they come from, how long they stay, and what they do when they are there to make informed decisions on whether the partnership is attracting interest.