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How to use Social Media to Increase Restaurant Bookings for your May Reopening.

With just over a month to go until in-store dining can finally re-open, it’s time to get into gear with your social media marketing! As expected, customers are super excited to get back into their favourite restaurants for a delicious meal. So, now is the time to step up your social media marketing strategy in preparation for May 17th - to ensure that re-opening day is bustling with customers old and new.

Let’s discuss 6 different ways that you can utilise social media to the best of your advantage, ready for May 17th.

1. Shout about your opening date (a lot!).

Although the public are aware that the government has allowed restaurants to reopen for in-store dining on May 17th, your restaurant may have a different date! Make sure your customers are not disappointed and ensure that they have the correct time and date for your reopening. Perhaps the public is not yet aware that you are reopening at all, so it’s best to post a picture with these details and then further emphasise them by adding the date to your stories or as caption under other posts. You should also place a link in your bio that will direct the customer to all this information as well as booking information. How many people can they bring and is there a seating time limit? Have this link allow them to make reservations in advance to ensure they can dine with you.

Utilise your stories too! Post a story countdown while alternating photos of your popular dishes or have engaging polls to get people excited about your reopening. You can also post photos or stories of your venue to show how your space has been made COVID safe, whether it’s by social distancing or with PPE and sanitising stations. This will reassure your customers that you’re taking every detail into consideration in regard to their safety.

Finally, be sure to share your restaurant page on different Facebook groups. This will allow you to reach your local target market as well as people who may not have heard of your restaurant. It’s great to get involved with local FB pages. The members are local and want to be notified about upcoming events and important dates. Try to join as many as you can, just be careful not to overshare and spam the groups!

2. Offer a Social-only opening incentive.

Next, entice your customers with a return visit to your restaurant with a social only event. Nothing generates excitement like free food! For example you can offer 1 free side if you book for May 17th. This will give your customers not only the incentive of free food but also the exclusivity of it being a social – only event. It will also give people a reason to visit your restaurant and give your restaurant a leg up on your competitors on reopening day. Why would customers book at another restaurant if they can get a great offer at yours, right?

3. Hold a contest.

Speaking of free food, another great way to incentivise customers to visit your restaurant is by hosting a competition. Launching an opening day contest will hype up your customers and help build your following. You can have your followers tag a friend or two in your post and this will expose your brand to more people. Make sure the prize is redeemable for either opening or afterwards. The prize can be anything from a free appetizer, a free welcome cocktail or maybe a £20 voucher. These competitions are easy to set up and naturally perform very well!

4. Invite Influencers to your re-opening.

Using influencers can be a good way to not only increase your social media following but to also build excitement around your reopening. Invite them out to your reopening day and have them post on their feed about their experience using specific hashtags and tagging your restaurant. This will draw more attention to your profile and your restaurant.

A total of 49% of consumers depend on influence recommendations on social media when deciding to buy a product or service. Influencers play an important and trusted role in their community so having them endorse your company will expose you to their loyal and local audiences. Your local audience is exactly the type of people you’re going to want to target and welcome back to your restaurant on reopening day! Local influencers will often work with you in exchange for a free meal – that’s all it will cost to benefit from some great exposure and create some user-generated content for your restaurant.

Here, Burger and Lobster uses user-generated content to increase interest in their opening.

5. Use polls to increase interest.

Polls are a great and easy way to engage with your audience whilst also receiving helpful feedback. Customers love to get involved and make suggestions! You can create polls that will give you some great feedback or inspiration such as “what meal would you like to see on our new menu when we re-open?” or “shall we introduce a new line of cocktails?” Through these polls, you can get a valuable insight into your customers’ needs/wants - what dishes they love, what menu items they want to see and maybe what products may struggle to sell. Not only does it give your company feedback, but it encourages the audience to feel included and part of your community. Other polls can simply be “what meal will you be ordering first?” to get customers excited for re-opening day.

6. Go live on your opening day.

Bring people to the action by starting a live stream broadcasting your reopening day (and do a quick scan of all the COVID safety features!)

According to a survey hosted by Vimeo Livestream and New York Magazine, 82% of people surveyed prefer live video over social posts. Instagram Live has proved hugely popular with brands around the world looking to provide an authentic and honest behind-the-scenes look into their operations.

Going live allows you to interact with your audience in real-time, showing a more human side to your brand. Perhaps you could show off the team that will be working on opening-day or highlight the COVID features around the venue. Even better, consider a livestream of the bartenders preparing a popular cocktail in real-time! Maybe video the chef grilling up your restaurant’s famous dish? Live usage jumped to over 70% in March during the height of the pandemic last year. A livestream will showcase a more organic point of view of your restaurant.

Your audience won’t see a heavily filtered or photo shopped version of your company but a more authentic one which they will be able to relate to. Try to keep your livestreams relatively long. Aim for 10 minutes or more as these tend to perform better than short videos. You can utilise the time to showcase a busy restaurant, you’re COVID precautions, meet them team, Q&As and highlight your influencer if you have one.


Your reopening day is going to come by quick and you want to have your audience amped and raring to head back to your restaurant. Implement these 6 tips and you will have no problem filling up seats and building hype!

If you want us to really boost your reopening day attendance, contact us and we can take care of the social strategy for you.


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