Social Media Posting Guide for Restaurants during COVID-19

It’s April 2020, and the USA has been sheltering-in-place for three weeks. Restaurants and bars are closed and they have shifted to takeout and online ordering to survive.


Social media is a big part of making that a success, but not everyone can bring on an agency partner to help. So we wanted to share some of the basic strategies and tactics that we’d implement for restaurants on social media right now. 


Why are we freely sharing some of our special sauce? Because in times like these, we’re all in this together. We care deeply about our community and the businesses who keep it running—so please feel free to share this article. 


Five Tips for Success:


1: Reevaluate EVERYTHING in the new context

Let’s face it – anything pre-COVID has a good chance of seeming tone-deaf or irrelevant right now. Everything you are putting on social should be reexamined in light of the current media environment.  

     – Revisit posts and de-emphasize language and images about dining in. 

     – Detail the take out and delivery services you are offering.

     – Use language that is sensitive to the current situation.

          – “How can we help you?”

          – “We’re all in this together.”

          – “During these difficult times, we will be there for you.”

     – Post images of your food, menu, curbside/delivery service, and hard-working staff.

          – Be mindful of the social distancing standards currently in place.

          – Don’t share group shots or pictures of your restaurant when it was busy! 

          – Make sure that images and content convey sanitary practices and health. 

          – Show that your staff is wearing gloves or masks (a positive in today’s context). 

          – Write captions about what you’re serving, what hours you’re open, how customers can get it, how your restaurant is handling the situation, and what safety protocols are in place.

          – Overall: be supportive, sensitive, and transparent. Know that people are both a little freaked out and a little stir crazy. 

2: Community Engagement

Community engagement is engaging with other users and profiles on social media—liking and commenting on posts, responding to comments, and following other accounts. People want to support small businesses, and engaging lets them know that you value their support. 

     – Remind your customers you are open and taking orders. 

     – Respond to all comments/messages on your page with sensitivity and honesty. 

     – Connect with local influencers and ask if they’re willing to help you spread the word. 

     – Keep commenters and followers updated when changes occur.

     – Connect with other local restaurants and comment on their pages in solidarity – we’re all in this together! 

3: Menu, Delivery and Curbside Pickup

Restaurants are adapting to the current lockdown by offering to-go, delivery, curbside, and other options that they weren’t before the crisis. It’s important to make sure customers are aware of their options and social media is one of the best ways to get the word out. 

     – If you aren’t set up for delivery already, consider popular third-party delivery services like Favor, Uber Eats, Grubhub, Doordash, or Caviar 

     – If you offer in-house delivery services,  remind customers about delivery range, price, and time for delivery

          – If necessary, create a limited “Stay at Home” menu.

          – Update users on all platforms if/when menu, pricing, or store hours change.

          – Give instructions for curbside pickup & explain why you’re doing it to stay safe. 

4: Meal Kits (make your own meal kit, ingredients kit, cocktail kit, family meal kits)

Many restaurants are now offering take-home meal kits – great for families who need to stock up on meals and great for restaurants who can sell in bulk.

     – Family Meal Kit: simplify orders and to appeal to families, create a ready-made meal that can feed 4 or more people. If possible, have a new meal kit per day of the week.

     – Ingredient Kits: For individuals who are working from home but don’t have enough ingredients to cook a full meal, create an ingredient kit (essentially, it’s a basket of goods along with instructions on how to recreate one of your signature dishes)

     – Alcohol Kits: many localities have temporarily allowed take-out alcohol giving a great way to boost sales. Create homemade ingredient kits or pre-mixed drinks and sell them in bulk.

5: Social Paid Advertising 

Spending money on advertising is tough right now, but there’s a significant pay-to-play aspect of social media. The truth is that only a small percentage of your following will see your content naturally,  so you’ll need to consider at least a little bit of paid advertising. 

     – Run ads through Facebook, Instagram, and Audience Network directed to a targeted audience within your service/delivery area.

     – Ads should be built with:

          – Photos, Short Videos (10 – 20 seconds), or a combo of both (Carousel Ads).

          – Include short text captions that acknowledge the crisis/quarantine.

          – CTA (call-to-action) button to your website or 3rd party delivery service.

     – Benefits:

          – Reach thousands of targeted people daily.

          – Paid content can be targeted to the ideal demographic for your business.

          – Targeting the right audience is vital to ensure posts are getting results. 

          – 70% of what’s posted on Instagram isn’t even seen without boosting (paid $), so your great photo could end up not being seen if you don’t boost it. 

          – Ad campaigns are a seamless and stress-free way to increase brand recognition and revenue.

For additional assistance during this time, we have launched the RBA Restaurant Relief Program to help friends in the industry who are struggling. We’re helping clients utilize paid social media advertising to drive traffic to online orders and/or 3rd party delivery services at highly discounted rates during the crisis. 


We hope these tips are helpful, if you have any questions on these tips or want more information about the RBA Restaurant Relief Program, drop us a line at [email protected]. Stay safe everyone!