Five Examples of Restaurants That Use Instagram The Right Way

By: Gina Lee De Freitas

Whether you’re looking for new marketing strategies or already an avid user of Instagram, you’re probably aware of Instagram’s success in driving restaurant traffic.

Instagram is one of the most common digital marketing strategies employed in the restaurant industry today. Recent studies show that 49 percent of American consumers learn about food through social media. But how exactly do you market your restaurants on Instagram? To give you a clear idea, we’ve compiled five examples of restaurants that use Instagram the right way.

1. Shake Shack

The burger restaurant that originated in New York currently has 402,000 followers, frequently garnering well over 10,000 likes on their photos. But what they do differently from everyone else is incredible: they post only user-generated content. In other words, Shake Shack only posts photos that its customers share. This makes their customers more engaged on Instagram and motivates them to share their own Shake Shack images. Their success is also worth mentioning. Goldman Sachs compared Shake Shack’s Instagram success to McDonalds, discovering that Shake Shack has almost 2,000 followers for every restaurant, while McDonalds has about 10. 

2. Sweet Green

Sweet Green uses Instagram to display its freshness, positivity, and farm-to-table methods. The account currently has over 130,000 followers and frequently shows off new additions to their menu. In addition, each post contains a quote about Sweet Green from someone around the nation, whether it’s a customer, follower, or member of their team. 

3. Georgetown Cupcake

Boasting over 560,000 followers, Georgetown Cupcake has established itself as one of the most widely known cupcake bakeries in America. The cupcake bakery mainly distinguishes itself on Instagram by offering a free cupcake every 24 hours; you just have to tell them the secret recipe, which you can only learn from Instagram. After establishing a strong social media presence, Georgetown Cupcake branched out into eCommerce and now a third of their overall sales are made online.

4. Stumptown Coffee

Stumptown Coffee, a boutique coffee company from Portland, not only posts appetizing photos of their coffee, which can be bought in store or online, but they also post photos showing the process of making their coffee. Stumptown Coffee even posts images showing their coffee grinds before they’re shipped to the shops.

5. The View House 

This Denver restaurant has a unique take on social media from others. While they post a lot of high-quality pictures of their food, the View House separates from the rest of the pack by advertising popular games that you can play at the restaurant, which creates an independent reason to visit.


Hopefully these examples will help you begin to articulate a clear and differentiated Instagram strategy for your restaurant chain. The easiest way to keep up to date with restaurant marketing trends is to keep up with Butts in Seats. For tips on getting started or if you need any questions answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Sean and I through our blog. 

Photo Attribute: Jason A. Howie, Flickr

About Butts in Seats!

When it comes to restaurant trends and marketing, IMM knows what they are talking about. Gina Lee De Freiitas, President of IMM, and Corien de Jong, SVP Executive Creative Director, have more than 25 years of experience in the vertical. So when they talk about the tools, tips and resources your restaurant needs to succeed, rest assured they’ve got it covered.

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