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Tried & True Ways to Make Your Restaurant More Popular on Instagram


Jackie Prange

In today’s day and age, you’re nobody until you’re “Instafamous.”  So with that in mind, we compiled a list of restaurants – and their dishes – that have come out on top of this trend and are receiving a lot of Instagram love.

Scroll on down to see how you can inspire some of these eye (and stomach) catching “Instafamous” shots at your restaurant!

Find Your Best Feature

Do you have a fancy tiled floor? Stan’s Donuts in Chicago sure does, and they’ve been using it to their Insta-advantage. Customers flock to this sweet spot in the windy city to capture the perfect “top down” shot of their donuts, but not without a side of their funky floral tiled floor.

Toronto’s Frings is no stranger to Insta-attention, with the restaurant’s countless features hitting newsfeeds daily. The restaurant leveraged their ambassador’s – Drake – popularity and installed some Instagram ready neon signs that feature some of his song lyrics.

One of the most photogenic being the wall-sized neon “6 on a wave” sign, referencing Drake’s nickname for Toronto and the title of one of his latest hits. It’s nearly impossible to find a time when this sign isn’t swarmed by selfie-taking, Instagram-sharing fans.

Create Fun to Photograph Food

With lineups around the block, New York’s Black Tap has Instagram to thank for their rise to “fame.” Now harnessing the power of social, this literal sweet spot has become a master the “monumental milkshake” craft.

These delicious works of art receive lots of Instagram love as it is, but their pop culture and holiday themed shakes really play up their sharing potential.

Some of the greatest: The Shark Week Shake, The Lucky St. Paddy’s Shake, and the Kylie Jenner Shake. These creations hit their 217K followers sweet spots, leaving them no choice but to come in and snap photos of their own.

Grand Banks, a seasonal oyster bar on the deck of a historic fishing boat, has raised the bar for experiential dining in NYC and is nothing short of a viral sensation. This restaurant’s exceptional atmosphere, paired with it’s fresh ingredients, are always camera-ready. But this is more than your average flat lay; the inclusion of the fish is sure to catch your attention while you scroll through your newsfeed.

Use Graphic Elements

by CHLOE, a vegan counter-serve pit stop with creative fare, has taken it’s social media presence to the next level. What’s most interesting about by CHLOE’s Instafame? They don’t have an Instagram account.

Thanks to very thoughtful food-styling, coupled with their photogenic tray liners, burger wrappers, and fry cartons, every by CHLOE menu item is camera ready. With countless NY fashion-bloggers-turned-foodies flocking here daily to capture fabulous flat lays, like the one below, it’s no surprise they’ve received so much Insta-love.

You’ll be sorry if you’ve yet to snap a picture or sip a latte at Kit & Ace’s newest cafe addition, Sorry Coffee Co. It’s no wonder countless TO fashionistas have taken to this cafe for a picture perfect cup of caffeine. Sorry Coffee Co. teamed up with local artists to create one-of-a-kind coffee cups that are just begging to be photographed.

But what ramps up their Instagram presence even more is with the release of new cup designs every three months, each one is only there for a limited amount of time, further incentivizing patrons to come sip and snap – and they’re not even sorry!

Get the Lighting Right

Anyone Torontonian with a sweet tooth looking to treat themselves will keep Bang Bang Ice Cream top of mind. With 25+ flavors of ice cream and a seemingly endless selection of goodies to “sandwich” your creations between, these hand-held creations are camera ready whenever you are. The brightly lit background and shadow cast on the ice cream brings this sweet treat to life.

Artificial-lights, camera, action! TWO’s burger spread is delicious on it’s own no doubt, but the strategic light leak helps to bring this piece of meat to life. Casting the rest of the scene in darkness, along with the shadows created by the bar, this plate looks like otherwordly. So what are you waiting for? Play around with different kinds of lighting to take your dishes to another level.

Provide Details for Sharing

On your menu, on a chalkboard behind the bar – or even at the bottom of your patrons receipt – share your Instagram @accountname, along with a custom hashtag like #joesbigwaffle or #bucaspizza. By doing so, you’ll be doing your part to encourage your Insta-obsessed customers to get snapping.

Whether you’re capturing the photo, or just the perfect photo-op, by following these five tips and tricks you’ll be sure to earn yourself a spot on the Instagram hall of fame.

Jackie was a Content Marketing Specialist and Social Media strategist at TouchBistro before moving into business development role. She covered the latest food, dining, and technology trends for the restaurant industry. A lover of all things coffee, Jackie’s hobbies include breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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