Influencer Marketing in Restaurants: What to Know

Influencer Marketing in Restaurants: What to Know
The influencer marketing industry is healthy and thriving. As the industry prepares to hit $24 billion, more and more businesses are capitalizing on this marketing channel.
by Maya Rollings Apr 11, 2024 — 5 min read
Influencer Marketing in Restaurants: What to Know

The influencer marketing industry is healthy and thriving. As the industry prepares to hit $24 billion, more and more businesses are capitalizing on this method of reaching customers. From major brands to small businesses, there’s room for almost every business — especially those in the food and beverage industry — to benefit from influencer marketing. Chipotle partnered with TikTok influencers Alexis Frost and Keith Lee to help push its fajita quesadilla and earned the most digital sales in the company’s history. Smaller brands like The Puddery have received reviews from influencers like Keith Lee and went from 10 customers or less to 100+ every day for weeks at a time.

And food and beverage businesses in particular are uniquely positioned to benefit from influencer marketing. In 2023, 437,000 creators talked about food and beverage brands, leading to the creation of 1.2 million posts, 75 billion impressions, and 3 billion engagements. Furthermore, 81% of consumers reported researching or purchasing an item or service after seeing social media posts from influencers, friends, or family members within the past year. 

To make the most of this marketing channel, it’s important to understand the different types of food and beverage influencers, how to find them, and more. Here’s what to know about influencer marketing in the restaurant space. 

What is a restaurant influencer?

A restaurant influencer is a person with an engaged social following who uses their social media account to share reviews and experiences on different cuisines, restaurants, and dining experiences in exchange for some form of compensation. The follower count of restaurant influencers can vary anywhere from less than a thousand followers to over a million. What’s most important is the level of trust between the influencer and their following, which directly impacts their level of influence. In fact, data shows that micro-influencers (influencers with between 1K and 100K followers) tend to generate up to 60% more engagement than macro-influencers (influencers with over 100K followers).

What are the benefits of influencer marketing for restaurants?

From broadening your reach to boosting profits, leveraging trusted voices can take your business to the next level in four key ways.

Types of restaurant influencers

How to find restaurant influencers

Explore user-generated content. 

User-generated content is a perfect place to search for influencers. They’ve already created content for your business, and they’re already a genuine fan of your offerings. These key elements can make your influencer marketing efforts more authentic and help them resonate better with your audience. Vet those who tag you in UGC and reach out to those who align best with your brand.

Conduct a local search.

Searching Google for “food influencers in Los Angeles,” for example, is another easy way to find influencers in your area. Popular roundups of social media influencers will bring up a variety of choices for you to choose from; however, these accounts may lean more on the more popular side, directly impacting compensation. If your budget is on the lower side, consider conducting hashtag searches like #chicagofoodie to cast a wider net of influencers of all ranges.

Check out influencer databases.

Influencer databases are a helpful place to showcase influencers that are looking for and open to new collaborations. Some databases can be filtered by location, fee range, and more to help you discover the best match for your business. TikTok’s Creator Marketplace or Instagram’s creator marketplace are also smart database options that provide similar filtering methods for those tailoring their influencer marketing to a specific platform.

Best practices for restaurant influencer marketing campaigns

Build around your overall marketing strategy and goals.

Relating your influencer campaign back to your larger marketing strategy keeps your marketing focused and cohesive and helps you reach your business goals. For example, if your business is focused on going all in on sustainability and you partner with an influencer who’s influential in the sustainability space, be sure your other marketing efforts reflect that. Whether it’s through your business website, social media platforms, or SMS or email marketing campaigns, consistent messaging is key. Otherwise, it could potentially come off as inauthentic and disjointed and leave customers confused about what your business stands for. 

Choose a creator that aligns most with your target audience.

There are tons of popular influencers on social media. The most popular creator(s), however, might not have the right connection with your target audience. Use your buyer personas and marketing strategy to remind you of your target audience and select creators who can help you expand your reach in that market. This can help ensure you maximize the potential of your influencer campaign and have a better chance of reaching your goals.

Make the influencer partnership a collaborative effort.

Reaching out to influencers with a clear goal is important. But building partnerships around collaboration can help yield greater results. When Chanel worked with Virginia Varinelli to help them launch a new fragrance line, the brand invited her to their fields and facilities to see how the products were being made to help with her creative process. Think of ways you can work with your chosen influencer(s) to bring about the best possible campaign that meets your goals while encouraging their creativity and ideas. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I reach out to restaurant influencers?

Oftentimes, influencers will have their contact information directly in their bio or on their website (typically linked within their Linktree or similar linking platform). If they don’t specifically identify a way to get in touch, consider reaching out via DM and asking if they’d be willing to partner with your business. If they’re open to a collaboration, be sure to have a clear campaign goal prepared and a budget in mind to make the process seamless.

How much does it cost to work with restaurant influencers?

There is no set dollar amount to work with restaurant influencers. Some influencers will work with a restaurant in exchange for a specific dining arrangement, while others may have fixed fees in place depending on the time commitment. The social media channel can also impact compensation. For instance, a micro-influencer might earn up to $500 per post on Instagram, up to $125 on TikTok, and up to $1,250 on Facebook, according to the Influencer Marketing Hub. Work with your influencer directly to determine a compensation plan that works for everyone. 

Maya Rollings
Maya Rollings is an editor at Square where she writes about all things customer experience, from building a solid customer base to leveraging tools and technology that meets them where they are in their journey.


Keep Reading

Tell us a little more about yourself to gain access to the resource.

i Enter your first name.
i Enter your last name.
i Enter a valid email.
i Enter a valid phone number.
i Enter your company name.
i Select estimated annual revenue.
i This field is required.

Thank you!
Check your email for your resource.

Results for

Based on your region, we recommend viewing our website in:

Continue to ->