What Is a Restaurant Influencer?
Restaurant influencers, more commonly known as food influencers, run popular social media accounts showcasing their visits to restaurants.
These food influencers typically post photos of the food and drinks at restaurants, and they often also upload videos of the interior design and decor of the places they visit.
The most common social media account for restaurant influencers to use is Instagram, since it’s pretty much completely focused on photos and videos. TikTok is also becoming a popular medium.
Why should you become a food influencer?
If your food-focused social media channel gets popular enough, you can get all kinds of perks, including invitations to sit at restaurant tables around your city (or even around the country or world!) and dine for free, as well invitations to special food-oriented events.
Restaurants love to work with influencers to promote their restaurants to a wider audience than they have on their own social channels. This is why they frequently reach out to food influencers and invite them to enjoy free meals or to come to special events.
Once you become a successful restaurant influencer, you may also be contacted by food-adjacent brands who will pay you or give you free goods and services in exchange for promoting them on your social media networks.
How To Become a Restaurant Influencer in 5 Steps
Set up an Instagram account
The first thing you want to do to become an influencer is to set up your social media account that you will be growing your influence on. Instagram is the platform that you should focus the majority of your efforts on.
If you think you will be posting a lot of video content, you may also want to open a TikTok account, so you can cross-post reels to both channels.
Pick a catchy name for your account(s) that will stick in people’s minds. Ideally, it should include something that makes it clear that your account is food related. For example, you could include words like “eats,” “food,” and “tasty.”
Decide on a niche
Food-related accounts on Instagram are plentiful, so you should try to set yours apart from the rest by picking a niche to focus on.
For instance, you might decide to only visit and post about coffee shops or dessert places. Or, you might focus only on high-end restaurants or hole-in-the-wall restaurants. It’s totally up to you and depends on what your personal tastes and goals are.
Also, just because you pick a certain niche now doesn’t mean you can’t expand or change your focus as your personal brand grows. It’s just good to focus on something to get started and attract a loyal audience.
Learn how to take good pictures
For most restaurant influencers, the tool of their trade is their smartphone. You want to make sure you’re able to take mouth-watering photos of meals and trendy shots of table settings and decor.
If you aren’t already familiar with how to take good food pictures on your smartphone, consider taking a course to learn. There are even online courses that you can sign up for.
Depending on what style you want to go for, you may also want some smartphone camera accessories, like a tripod and a selfie stick.
Finally, you should know how to edit your photos because, let’s face it, filters are king on Instagram. When you know how to manipulate things like colors and saturation, you can give all your photos a style that’s unique to you and your restaurant influencer account.
Start visiting restaurants and making content
The next step towards becoming a successful restaurant influencer is to start actually posting content to your Instagram account. This means visiting restaurants in your niche, trying different things on the menu, and taking lots and lots of pictures of them to post.
Keep in mind that you’re going to be paying for all of the food from your own pocket at first, so don’t quit your day job yet.
When you upload content, try to write interesting descriptions about the food. If you can get the staff at restaurants to tell you something that most people don’t know about the food, that can make for great content.
Make sure to tag any restaurant you eat in when you post about your experience, and hopefully they will repost your photo or video for all their followers to see. Oh, and don’t forget the hashtags!
Interact with restaurant social media accounts
Once you start making content, a good way to get your account in front of more eyes is to interact with restaurant accounts.
For instance, you can comment on photos they post and say things like: “I have to try this!” Then, other people who are looking through the comments may visit your account and follow you.
Who knows, interacting with restaurant accounts might even get you your first invitation to a free meal as a food influencer!
Make connections with other influencers
After you’ve been making content for a while and have a bit of a following, another great way to grow your followers even faster is to connect and collaborate with other influencers.
For example, you could reach out to a food influencer in a different niche than yours and invite them out to eat with you. Then, you can both upload photos of the meal, perhaps focusing on different elements, and tag each other to get exposed to the other person’s followers.