You’ve probably heard a lot about Snapchat. You, or at least someone at your restaurant, is likely an avid user. After all, Snapchat has 150 million daily active users sharing 9,000 snaps per second. It’s a photo sharing app that allows it’s users to send photos, videos, drawings and messages to their friends. All of which are deleted within 1-10 seconds.

If you’re like most restaurant owners, you see Snapchat as a social app for millennials with no real benefits to small local businesses. While big brands spend millions advertising on the app, there couldn’t possibly be a way to reach your local restaurant customers right?

Not so fast. Snapchat actually has several business-related applications. So, how can you use Snapchat for your restaurant? Here’s how to get set up with Snapchat and attract new customers to your restaurant.

Set Up Your Restaurant On Snapchat

First, download the app to your Apple or Android smartphone. Use your restaurant’s name as the username. If it’s taken, as many common names might be, try adding your city/town to the end of the name.

To send a user, or group of users, a “snap”, just press the button for a picture or hold the button for a video (of up to 10 seconds). You can then select who to send the snap to. If you want to be less intrusive to your friends/followers, simply add the snap to your story instead. This will let people choose to click and view your story instead of getting a direct notification from you and having to view it.

How To Get Your Restaurant Snapchat Friends And Followers

Now it’s time to make some friends on Snapchat so that people can see what you’re posting. It’s not quite as easy as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, so it’s time to get creative.

Get your Snapchat code and place it in as many places as possible. A few ideas include:

  • your restaurant’s website
  • your Facebook page’s cover photo
  • as your Instagram profile picture
  • your in-store menu
  • your takeout menu
  • on flyers
  • on table-top advertisements
  • as stickers on your bar top or in washrooms

Really just anywhere that your customers may see it. People can then quickly scan your code using the app to add you as a friend.

7 Ways To Market Your Restaurant With Snapchat

Now that you have Snapchat set up and are starting to get some friends, it’s time to use this platform to market your restaurant and increase your sales.

1. Snap Coupons Or Discount Codes

This can be a great incentive to get customers to follow you on Snapchat. Once they add you as a friend, send them a snap of a coupon or discount code for online ordering. More customers will want to follow you and it creates a feeling of exclusivity when they receive a snap from you. You can be sure it will also spread through word-of-mouth as customers receive their coupon and tell their friends about it.

2. Snap Your Food

Seeing is believing. Send snaps of your food freshly prepared and leaving the kitchen. You’ll make your customers hungry by just looking at the photos and videos.

Be timely as well. If it’s hot outside, snap a photo of a cold beer. If it’s a special sporting event, snap a plate of wings and nachos next to the TV.

3. Encourage Customers To Snap

You already know how good word-of-mouth advertising is. Snapchat presents us with another similar opportunity. What’s better than you sending snaps? Getting your customers to send snaps at your restaurant to their friends. It’s less intrusive, doesn’t look like and ad and is more meaningful to the people seeing it.

Offer your customers a small discount for snapping their food.

Frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles does this by having their customers snap a photo of them with their order. The customer then gets a discount off their treat.

how to snapchat as a restaurant

4. Limited Time Specials

Snaps posted to your story expire after 24 hours. Use this to your advantage with limited time specials. Post specials or coupons that are only valid while your snap is live. You’ll encourage customers to get in your restaurant quick instead of sitting around on that coupon until they forget about it.

You can also send snaps to your customers with shorter time limits. For example, let them know that the next 10 people in your restaurant that show you the snap will get a free dessert with their meal. Once those 10 people have arrive, simply delete the snap from your story.

5. Snapchat Takeover

Constantly snapping food picks just won’t do. To avoid your content getting stale, think about letting someone do a Snapchat takeover for your restaurant. For example, let one of your servers or chefs run the account for the day. Have them snap their walk to work, setting up the restaurant, serving, putting on events and closing down for the night. It will give people a much different perspective of your restaurant and make them feel more connected.

You can also try to get food critics or famous food bloggers to takeover your account for the day. While promoting your restaurant on your account, they’ll be doing the same on theirs. This opens up your restaurant to a much larger audience of potential new customers.

6. Create A Snapchat Geofilter For Your Restaurant

When you take a snap and start swiping you’ll notice there are special logos that appear over your photo. When your location settings are on, some of these are specific to the city or area you’re in at that moment.

Snapchat let’s you create a create geofilters that are specific to your brand and in a particular geographic location (ie. your restaurant). Your customers who are sending snaps at your restaurant can then add the filter to their photos and videos.

Learn more about getting started with Snapchat geofilters.

7. Tour Your City

Snapchat doesn’t need to be about just your restaurant in order to be effective. Each city has a local story that you can post your snaps to. These stories are viewable to users in that area. Instead of just pointing everyone directly to your restaurant, take them on a tour of your city. Show the landmarks, cool places only locals know about and what makes your city so special. People, especially outsiders, will appreciate this much more and will be more likely to end up at your restaurant; which is conveniently where your snap story ended up as well.

So, is Snapchat just for people and not businesses? If it was in the beginning, it’s not anymore. Remember to be real and just have fun with it. Customers will appreciate it more if you’re not trying so hard. It’s one of the least “business-like” social tools that you can use, so don’t act too formal.

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