How to Create an Effective Instagram Profile for Any Restaurant

Remember when we told you about Instagram’s truly staggering statistics? specifically in regard to why every restaurant needs to not only be on the platform, but have a solid marketing plan for it?

Well, let’s just say those 1 billion users have very likely already grown since that story—especially now that the platform just released “Reels” to compete with the maybe soon-to-be extinct TikTok video platform. So if you're running a restaurant and looking for the best single social media platform to connect with current and future customers... well, you'd better be looking at Instagram.

>>>RELATED: Everything You Need To Know About Social Media Marketing For Restaurants

In this article, we will go into detail—with screenshots!—about how to create a successful Instagram profile, with topics including:

  • Creating An Instagram username

  • Creating An Instagram Business account

  • What Should Be in An Instagram bio

  • Tips on how to improve your content & feed

Let’s get you set up and looking pretty, shall we?! (We shall!)

Create an Instagram username for your restaurant

In this case, like so many others, simpler is better. Your Instagram username should be as easily-identifiable to your business' actual name, as this is how users will ultimately search for your account. Naturally, it will depend on what’s available, but there are ways to work around that as well.

For instance, if your restaurant’s name is Pete’s Pizza, your ideal username will be: @PetesPizza. Try to avoid any additional spaces of characters if at all possible. However, if that name is taken, which given the amount of Petes in the world, and pizza's indomitable popularity, seems likely, some other options include adding:

  • One or several underscores (@Petes_Pizza; @Petes_Pizza_)

  • A geographic tag or area code (@PetesPizzaCHI; @PetesPizza_843)

  • A concept signifier (@PetesPizzaWindow; @PetesPizzaTruck)

  • Introductory text (@ItsPetesPizza; @HiPetesPizza)

Important reminder: your username is the only thing that can’t match another account’s (think of it as your own URL). It is not the same as your “Profile Name” which should literally just be the name of your restaurant. And if your business has other social media channels (which it should!) make sure your handle on Instagram matches the ones you use on those platforms, when possible.

Upload a profile picture

Your business' profile picture is the first thing people will see when searching and visiting your Instagram profile, and a confirmation that they're in the right place. Unlike Facebook, your profile photo is quite small—a 110-pixel in diameter circle, to be exact. (You can upload any shape photo; Instagram automatically crops it for you.) So this isn’t the space to have a detailed shot with a lot going on, because it won't be legible.

Most restaurants opt for their company logo, which is a solid choice as long as it’s easily identifiable. A food image can work as well; in fact, there have been studies that claim it’s even more effective.

>>>RELATED: Does Your Restaurant Need A Website, Facebook Page, Or Both?

Regardless of which you choose, just make sure it’s clear—both in image quality, and messaging. Lastly, don’t be afraid to switch them up! A lot of companies will alter their image around holidays, specific trends, or monthly themes.

Create an Instagram bio

With a limit of 150 characters, you bio—the text at the very top of your profile, above your website link—needs to be as informative and concise as possible. Make sure to answer the basic who, what, where questions about the business. With any additional space, feel free to the things that are most important about your restaurant's brand and personality. For example, a plug like “Home of Tampa’s Best Cuban Sandwich” can drastically improve how your brand is perceived, demonstrating to would-be customers the pride and passion your restaurant has for its most popular items.

Pro tip: Make it more playful (and use characters!) by utilizing emojis (i.e. a “pin” for location and some food emojis to dictate type of cuisine). Don’t worry about including email, because that will appear as a default button on your page.)

Always have up-to-date links

One annoying thing about Instagram? Unless you have 10,000 or more followers to snag the much sought-after “swipe up” feature, there’s no way to actually "link" anything. This presents a real challenge to getting people to move from the app to your website, and makes it all the more important to regularly and appropriately update ’s why updating your "website" link accordingly is massively important.

The good news is it’s very simple to input: just go to your profile page and click “Edit Profile” and insert your URL into the website field. change the URL on your profile page as often as you'd like. And there’s no limit; can change the URL on your website page as much as you want.

Now you know why “link in bio” is very popular amongst Instagram copy -- because it’s essentially your call-to-action (CTA). For instance, if a post is promoting an event that requires RSVPS, or a new blog post on your site, your “link in bio” should ultimately correspond with it (and be called out in the actual post itself).

Otherwise, your default link for that field should always be your website, order link, or menu.

Master your settings

Just like any social platform -- or online entity for that matter -- it’s important to know you’re in optimal settings. Below are the ones you want to make sure are locked in:

  • Account type: Instagram accounts can either be “Personal” or “Business” -- with the main, very crucial difference, being business pages have access to “Insights” aka the hub of your analytics (how well posts perform, audience growth, etc.). So ensuring you convert your Instagram account into a business account is a pretty big deal. If you set it up as a personal page a;ready, don’t fret! It’s a very simple -- and completely free -- switch. Click the three horizontal lines in the top right corner and scroll to “Settings” then scroll to “Account and click on “Switch To Business Account”-- and presto! You’re in business.

  • Notifications: Content may be king, but engagement is queen. Get the most out of it by knowing the second someone comments on a post so you can interact with this person immediately. This is in the same vein if a negative comment is posted, you will want to address and smooth as soon as possible. To do this, go into your “Settings” again and scroll to "Options" and then "Notifications” -- from there, go into every field and select “From Everyone” and “On.” This includes “Direct Messages” as social media also doubles as a “customer service” portal (both a good and a bad thing!); therefore, make sure you receive each and every message notification that comes through -- because Instagram automatically groups messages from people who don’t follow you separately as “Requests”, meaning if you’re not alerted, a question could go unanswered and a potential customer could be lost. Sure, this may result in some spam -- but if your settings don’t accept all, it’s more likely you will miss an important message (and it’s easy to block spam accounts).

Beef up your "Highlights" section

Instagram Highlights is a “new-ish” feature that provides an excellent way to include more useful content that will always live up top on your account. For instance, use “Highlights” to share meus images, videos of creating a certain dish, staff profiles, merchandise, funny behind the scenes videos -- the opportunities are endless! (Well, sort of, each highlight can only have 100 photos or videos in it, but you can update then whenever you want.)

Before anything can be included in “Highlights” it needs to be posted to your Instagram Stories. To create a “Highlight’, click New (with a + sign) and your archived stories will appear. From there, click the ones you want included in your Highlight. To make it more branded, make the first post in the Highlight uniform for ach (i.e. your logo, a specific color, emoji, etc.) and then make sure to label each one accordingly, i.e. “Order To Go”, “Happy Hour”, “Tacos”, etc.

[Photo: via Pexels]