Restaurants - Communications Strategy - Malou

Restaurants - Communications Strategy

BEST CASE - O'Tacos Vavin or how to go from 300 to 4000 real Instagram followers within a week

Many restaurants dream of having large numbers of followers, especially quality ones on Instagram. However, the idea of winning real potential clients in a short amount of time sounds complicated… but not impossible! As a matter of fact, as long as you know your target, their behavior towards social media and their main motivation in choosing one restaurant over another, you should be able to reach your goal. Let’s take the case of one of our clients, O’Tacos Vavin. We helped them gain notoriety, acquire new consumers and build long-term relationships with them. Here is how we did it.

There is no need to explain again why Instagram is the key to gain brand notoriety and prospects. The real question is how to do it? How to gain followers that are more susceptible to be future consumers? How to generate interactions on your restaurant page? How to convert data into real clients? And last, but not least, how to develop long-term relationships with them to assure your restaurant's returns keep growing?

These many questions and the need for higher returns are the reasons why Eric Leboucher came to us to find a solution for his business, O’Tacos Vavin. Thanks to our help and a simple Instagram game, the restaurant saw its followers jump from 300 to 4000 within a week. With the majority of them being students from high schools located less than 2km away from the fast food chain, the gained followers are real potential clients of O’Tacos. And here is what we did…

The success story of O’Tacos is apparent but other franchises should not jump into it eyes closed.

It is in March 2019 that the 229th O’Tacos saw the light at Neuilly-sur-Seine. O’Tacos was originally created 10 years ago in Grenoble and the French tacos were an immediate success with impressive growing numbers. The fast food even received a “Palme de la Croissance” from the Leaders Club France to reward these stunning numbers.

Loved by the younger ones, the brand is more than doing fine on social media. O’Tacos’ parent company is even generating thousands of interactions from Instagram communities thanks to this “foodporn” picture of melty and cheesy tacos:

As you have seen, O’Tacos’ brand already has strong notoriety in France. Its strong position allows them to have significant returns. While new O’Tacos franchises keep opening, they are being placed in direct competition with each other. Within a radius of less than 2km between the 5th and the 6th district of Paris, we can already count three of them (Jussieu, Saint-Michel, and Vavin).

Their online visibility on social media varies a lot between its franchises. At the beginning of April 2019, O’Tacos Bastille had less than 200 followers on Instagram, the one from Colombes had 800 and the one from République 2000.

It was because of this growing rivalry among O’Tacos franchises that Eric, the manager of O’Tacos Vavin located in the 6th district of Paris, asked for Malou’s help.

First : O’Tacos is facing difficulties to grow on Instagram and struggling to meet its revenue goals.

At the end of 2018, the online visibility of the fast food franchise was low with only 11 posts and a few hundred followers.

However, similar restaurants boast hundreds or even thousands of followers on their own social media accounts.

O’Tacos Vavin is located in a student area (numerous high-schools and universities surround the place), some students are already customers as they see the tacos fast food on their way to school. But many of them did not know about it or even if they did, they had never actually been there before.

So we decided to come up with a way to attract with them with social media.

Our solution: create an online contest to reach customers in the nearby geographical area

1. Choosing relevant targets with high commitment to the online contest

First, we identified potential customers for our partner (social, professional categories and location). Given the type of offering, the price range and the positioning of O’Tavos, we chose to target students in the neighborhood.

We also checked the map for all high schools within 5 minutes walking distance from O’Tacos – assuming that students would not walk more than this on their lunch break.

We identified two factors that would potentially motivate students to join the contest: free tacos and the competition between institutions.

2. Shaping the contest’s rules

Next, we defined the contest’s rules to reach our goals – increase the quality of O’Tacos’ followers and create a buzz among high schools. The « Battle of High schools » is launched.

The rules are simple, students from 6 different high schools have to:

  • Follow O’Tacos Instagram account
  • Like the post dedicated to their school

The reward: a special Buy-1-Get-1-Free promotion of tacos would be offered to all the students from the winning high school.

We explained the process in a special post:

3. Launching the contest

The next day at the same time, 6 posts – one for each school (Notre-Dame de Sion High-school, Saint Sulpice High-school, Carcado Saisseval private High-school, Sainte Geneviève Institute, Montaigne High-school and Stanislas High-school) – were published on the Instagram account of our client.

During this week, students mobilized themselves and started following O’Tacos Vavin and liking the post of their respective institution. They shared the post among their classmates in the hope of winning the contest.

In one week, the reputation of the brand among these students exploded.

4. Spreading the word among chosen targets

To be sure that all students are aware of the game, we did a few important things:

  • We sponsored the “launching contest” post for only 10 euros. In order for the post to perform well, as in have a good reach, we only targeted people under 20 years old within an area of less than 2 km from O’Tacos Vavin.
  • We looked for the “Instagram Places” of high schools that we were targeting and we spotted the posts and the people that published content from these places. Here is an example with the Montaigne High school:

  • From O’Tacos’ Instagram account, we liked the latest posts published from their high schools’ location. As a result, students were surprised to see O’Tacos’ interest for their posts and visited its page to only discover the contest.

The result: from 300 to 4000 followers gained in one week and a strong link was created with thousands of potential customers.

O’Tacos Vavin gained 4000 followers after only one week of the contest. Students mobilized themselves and interactions on the fast food page boomed as statistics showed:

Students shared the contest and O’Tacos account more than 500 times in their Instagram stories in order to mobilized their classmates and get a maximum of points for their institutions. Fifty students from high schools close to O’Tacos but that were not part of the game also contacted us so that we would include them in future similar events.

What to remember from this strategic game?

  • To win a large audience of quality, it is necessary to understand who really is the target:
    • Social-professional category and demographic - for O'Tacos, students are willing to pay 5 euros for a taco to replace the school cafeteria.
    • Location - here, a very close geographical perimeter was necessary since students’ lunch break is limited in time. Furthermore, most students live near their high schools, thus near O’Tacos, meaning they can easily be regular clients during the weekends and nights.
    • Motivation to consume - the low price and the large variety of the menu
    • Motive to interact on social-media - the rivalry between high schools
  • Then, it is important to find the best way to reach them: a game, a contest, a collaboration with influencers, a special event, the launch of a new menu or even just a new meal…
  • Even the best ideas will fail if you do not know how to reach your targets. It is necessary to put in place a system that will make people aware of the game and push them to engage with it. .
  • Once the system is identified, it is important to defined key performance indicators to measure its efficiency (number of followers, views, interactions, revenue growth…)

It is easier to build a large and quality audience on your restaurant’s Instagram if you follow these steps. By repeating the process and always improving its weaknesses, you can go even further and create a real and involved community that will not only be customers but loyal ones… if the quality of the service matches of course!

Social Media: A Must-Have for Restaurants

One week ago, Malou participated in a conference organized by CESACOM, a French communication school. The topic of the discussion was focusing on being or not being Instagramable. Some important figures were present such as Coline Desilans, journalist at Le Bonbon, Anne-Sophie Martorana, interior architect, and Patrick Colpron, manager of Instagram’s TopParis accounts. Together, we debated about the role of Instagram in restaurants’ communication strategy. Is it essential to the survival of a restaurant? Can it be the main driver for growth?

1 Parisian out of 2 goes to the restaurant at least once a week. 80% of them go online to research a restaurant. They face different choices: Google search engine, online comparison platforms (TheFork, Yelp, TripAdvisor…)… But also, social media. Facebook and Instagram are the main ones. They are the first choice of restaurants looking to gain new clients.

However, it is difficult to appear on internet users’ feed. It is already saturated due to the important amount of contents created by other individuals or businesses. Numerous examples prove that it is difficult, but not impossible. With time and effort, results can be envious. We can take the example of Big Mamma. The restaurant frequently posts aesthetic pictures of its warmth interior decoration or even of its delicious Italian food. Big Mamma is now considered as THE Italian of Paris. People do not mind waiting in queues outside of the restaurant to experience this Instagramable place. PNY is also a good example of another restaurant who built a successful communication strategy thanks to social media.

But how can you successfully impose your brand on social media when it is such a competitive market? How to target efficiently? Are social media enough to fill a restaurant during each service? What is the role of social media in a restaurant’s daily life? All these questions are answered in this article.

Community management strategies are essential to the success of restaurants

Restaurants’ owners often say it, it is necessary today to be present on Facebook and Instagram. And the reason for this is that food is one of the most favored and followed topics on social media. In 2017, 208 million #food were used on Instagram. It is believed that 1 person out of 5 shares at least one picture of their meal each month. To show what we eat became part of our identity as much as music and fashion are.

The restaurants’ owners take full advantage of this #food trend. They never saw their social media accounts as much visited as today. It is estimated that 300 000 French people check restaurants online at least once a day.

But how to optimize your online visibility on social media? What are the strategies and trends to develop?

Stay on your guards

It is known, in order for an account to gain followers, it needs to be dynamic and frequently publish contents on its feed (meaning several times a week). So, it is normal to lack of inspiration at some point. One advice: check what your competitors do. To make attractive content on Facebook and Instagram, it is necessary to follow the best trends around you and apply them to your strategy.

It is also important to keep track of social media’s new tools. Social media constantly creates new tools to keep its online community interested. The Facebook Group (Facebook and Instagram) always add new features that are rapidly and easily adopted by its online users. These new tools stimulate imaginations and help to generate new types of content.

We can take the example of stories: this format was originally introduced by Snapchat and a few years after, Instagram started developing it, followed by Facebook. The result? Stories develop themselves 15 times faster than posts. It became an habit for online users to watch or create some. Today, stories are more used than posts.

It is thus necessary to stay on your guards and keep an eye on what is around you. Even stories’ format already changed since its apparition. You can add some music, create some surveys… What was trendy yesterday might not be tomorrow.

Another example showing the importance of staying up-to-date on social media trends: videos. Recently, videos are the main focus of internet users. Their views have increased by 80% between 2017 and 2018. Once again, this format (different from Instagram’s initial idea of an only picture platform) allows users to develop their creativity to produce all kinds of videos.

Not only checking competitors and internet users is important to develop your own strategy, you also need to adapt your strategy to present trends in order to gain the most of out them.

Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses

Obviously, we do not mean to copy competitors’ strategies but to inspire yourself! It is necessary to adapt strategies to your own goals and brand image. For a community management strategy to be efficient, your first step should be to know exactly your restaurant’s identity. What are its weaknesses? What are its strengths? What does this restaurant have to offer? What differentiates it from its competitors? Why would people choose to go there instead of another place? These are only a few examples of questions you should ask yourself before creating an account. It will help you define the right strategy to develop.

This is the reason why copying someone else strategy will not work for your own restaurant. Not only results will be average but also you will still be drowning facing your competitors’ strategies. Finding inspiration is necessary but your strategy should always be your own. The MOB HOTEL is an example to follow.

Most hotels and restaurants on Instagram choose to put their offer in the center of their strategy. The MOB Hotel decided to do things differently. It considers itself more as a movement than a touristic place. This living space advertises its values before its interior decoration or its restaurant. The hotel only publishes original pictures reflecting the atmosphere felt when being there. And it worked! Thanks to its inspiration and differentiation, it now has more than 14 500 followers on Instagram.

Analyze statistics

Such strategies are meaningless without a close analysis of their outcomes. Social media is the perfect place to try, test and take risks. The expression “To learn from your mistakes” perfectly represent the idea of strategies on social media. But it is still important to know what is working and what is not.

Thankfully, Instagram and Facebook allow you to have access to all this information. You can adapt your strategies thanks to these numbers. You can repeat successful strategies and avoid the ones that did not pay off.

Community management, yes, but not without a broad communication strategy

Yes, it is necessary to put in place a community management strategy in order for the restaurant to be successful. However, this strategy would be useless without a broad communication strategy. Just having an account is not enough to face competition, to target the right people or to fill your restaurant at each service.

80% of French people look online to find a restaurant. They can find relevant information on different platforms such as Google, traditional media, online comparison platforms, social media, websites… Most people do not randomly go in a restaurant anymore. They prefer to gain detailed knowledge about the different choices they are facing. So, it is important to multiple contacts and to link online sources to each other.

1. The first reflex: working on your organic SEO on Google!

Before even thinking about creating an account on Instagram or Facebook, it is important to develop an SEO strategy. Social media is considered as a verification step for users. After proceeding to an online search on Google, they will check out the Instagram and Facebook pages of the restaurant just to verify the quality of the business. 

So before creating an account, you need to think about your restaurant’s keywords in order to appear before your competitors on Google thus, having more chance to be chosen. Some online comparison platforms such as TripAdvisor, The Fork or Yelp are also very used by people looking for a restaurant. To have a complete and detailed account on these platforms also needs to be a priority.

2. Community management and influence marketing as a whole

The next step is to develop a community management strategy. To be efficient, it needs to be paired with an influence marketing strategy. In other words, it means that restaurant owners have to work closely with relevant influencers on Instagram.

A collaboration with food or lifestyle influencers that appear to have the same values as your restaurant enables reaching a broader target. Furthermore, Instagram becomes a tool to win clients instead of just displaying your offer. If an influencer ends up having a great time in your restaurant, he will share his experience with its community. He will create posts or stories about it. Influencers main characteristic is to have a close and trustworthy relationship with their followers. This is the reason why they become ambassadors of the brands they partner with. To have contents on different influencers’ account allow the restaurant to expand its online visibility to millions of potential clients. It is the case of Pizzou, a 100% French pizzeria with which we worked with at its opening. One month after the launch of the place, we organized a party with only influencers invited. Results were immediate. The next day, the restaurant accounted for its best revenue since its opening.

3. Be visible on traditional media

Finally, traditional media should not be put aside. They still are relevant means of communication. A public relation strategy will grow the notoriety and credibility of your business.

Conclusion : which evolutions for tomorrow?

Numerous restaurant owners think it is important to be present on social media and they are right. However, they tend to think that having an account is enough. It is necessary to also develop a community management strategy linked to a broader communication strategy. Organic SEO, public relations, influence marketing… All are important steps to work on.

In order to do so, it is important to keep track of these platforms. Facebook and Instagram always change: trends come and go, and competition is harsh. To follow and use new features help you stay up-to-date with your community and differentiate yourself from competitors.

To conclude, even though today Facebook and Instagram are considered the two major social media, let’s not forget that Snapchat, the creator of stories, used to be compared to them. Today, people over 25 years old do not even have it downloaded in their phones anymore. Also, Facebook used to be bigger than Instagram. Today, it left its place to Instagram to focus on being a more professional platform. And did you hear about TikTok yet? It is a new social media growing at a fast path among the youngest. So, what will it be in 3, 5, 10 years? Hard to know. What will be the new tools available for restaurants? You will only have these answers if you carefully benchmark competitors and keep an eye on new trends!

5 New Instagram and Facebook Features for Restaurants

Social media is constantly changing. New features, more or less important, are coming up each day. Facebook, Instagram and other social media always invent new ways to surprise us. They propose easy and new experiences to discover every day. It is thus necessary to keep track of these new features if you want to stay up your game.

Of course, all users have a different behavior. Some features are tried right away whereas others do not see any interest in them. We can take the example of stories. It is proven that they were adopted 15 times faster than simple posts. Now, Stories are even more used, watched and liked than posts. On the contrary, some new features are not meeting expectations. It is the case of IGTV, a video creation feature on Instagram that was upgraded many times until user would actually use it daily.

In order to be on top of trends, it is necessary to keep track of newest features but also consumer behavior towards them. Global benchmarking allows you to follow trends and even anticipate them before coming up. It is the best way to stay ahead of the competition.

So what are 2019 trendiest features? And what are upcoming ones worth taking a look at? Answers down there.

1. Social Influence Marketing on Instagram

Social Influence Marketing is a must have for restaurants looking to gain in reputation and become the place to go. Influencers who are welcomed to good restaurants, with tasty food, a nice atmosphere, and an attractive decoration will definitely talk about their experience online and promote the place on their social media. They become ambassadors of the brand. It is important for restaurants to understand that their role is important as they represent the quality of the place to their online community.

Instagram is aware of this phenomenon on its platform. This is the reason why the social media never stops developing new ways for brands and influencers to work closer. Recently, the feature “Branded content ads” has been added to the list. Now, brands and influencers are connected in a more formal partnership. This allows brands to reach not only their ambassadors audience but also to promote their posts on their own feed.

Until now, brands could only create partnerships with influencers. This option was limited for the company as the only audience reach by the influencers’ posts and stories was his own. Now, with “Branded content ads”, brands can share these sponsored contents on their own feed which allow them to reach a broader market.

The advantage of this options does not stop here. Now that companies can sponsor influencers’ contents, they are able to know exactly the performance of their partnerships. Indeed, only the owner of the account had access to these statistics. Brands can now see the number of fake followers and bought likes on the influencer’s posts and determine if this partnership is worth it.

This type of partnership is usually rare between restaurants and influencers. They rather offer a free meal than investing a higher budget for better results. “Branded content ads” are very interesting strategies for all agrobusiness.

2. Will local businesses soon be advantaged on Instagram?

Today, Instagram is a must-have for business no matter their field of expertise. However, it never gave special attention to local businesses. Until now, they could only work with attractive contents and stories. But what if we told you that Instagram is finally starting to focus on how to put them forward. Tomorrow, you might already be able to create a special page to input important information such as your address, your phone number, your opening time, your websites… All kind of information that will be helpful for close consumers looking to find you.

Voir l'image sur Twitter

The profile shown resembles the one on Google My Business. You will be able to link it to your Facebook account. This new feature is not available yet to the public as Instagram is still testing it.

3. A new partnership between Instagram and The Fork to facilitate restaurants’ reservations

Instagram also put in place other new options focused on local businesses. It is a way to attract them to use its platform but also highlight their services. A few weeks ago, the social media announced a new partnership with one of the most famous online reservation platform: The Fork. The goal? Making reservations fast and simple.

You can now see a new button “Reserve” on most of the local restaurants Instagram page. You just need to click on it and you will be directly sent on The Fork to proceed to the reservation. It is the second biggest partnership of this kind that The Fork put in place. A few weeks before Instagram, Google also declared to have created the same kind of button on restaurants’ Google My Business pages. It is a way for social media users to directly become restaurants’ clients. However, it is important to know that The Fork is keeping a margin on each reservation made on its platforms. This is the main reason why many restaurants prefer using Zenchef, Google’s partner, which has no fee. Even though it is possible to choose between The Fork and Zenchef on Google, it is not the case for Instagram (yet?).

4. Facebook facilitates events’ communication thanks to stories

Individuals, groups and other pages can now share events in their stories on Facebook. This feature, new of only a few weeks, gives greater visibility to an event that will take place in the future. It allows it to reach larger targets. In addition to reaching a broader audience from its own community, the event can also be shared in its followers’ stories.

You only need to go on the event page, click on the button “share” followed by “share your story”. Once the content is integrated into your story, all your friends can have access to it. They can also directly precise if they are interested in the event and if they will join. The creator of the story has access to all those answers.

This new feature shows how much Facebook tries to implement the success of stories into its platform, something that has been relatively put aside since its appearance on the social media. It is also a way for Facebook to become THE social media for professionals.

5. A single post for 2 accounts to facilitate community managers and brands’ work

It is now possible to publish the same picture or video on different Instagram accounts at the same time! It is a huge gain of time for businesses having at least two accounts on the platform. Once again, the method is very easy. A tab “Publish on other accounts » is now available under the description space.


Being present and active on social media is not enough today. To distinguish itself from the competition, businesses need to constantly adopt new online strategies. Daily work on benchmarking is necessary to stay up to date on trends and anticipate new ones.

You also need to benchmark your competitors to understand which are their strategies and if they are working better than yours. It is important to understand why they work better in order to adapt yours and be even more performant.

Big Mamma Restaurants: The Recipe for Marketing Success on Social Media

“Buongiorno!,” “Buena sera!”

A chorus of enthusiastic voices speaking their native Italian sounds the opening of every trattoria before letting in the first wave of impatient diners into the hallowed walls of the restaurant, and letting down those behind the cutoff who will have to wait for their turn—or, for the latecomers, come back another day. Big Mamma has achieved, then repeated, every restaurant owner’s dream: never having a single empty table.

East Mamma, Ober Mamma, Mamma Primi, Biglove Caffè, Pizzeria Popolare, Pink Mamma, La Felicità, La Bellezza in Lille… each restaurant of Big Mamma’s turns down customers on a daily basis: every seat is already filled. So what’s the secret sauce of their success? Great products, scrumptious food, a warm and welcoming staff, a homey decor that’s not lacking in charm. But that’s not all: the group has also adopted a powerful social media strategy that allows them to generate buzz before every restaurant opening, and not to drop after that.

Ingredient n°1: Strong storytelling with visuals showing the behind the scenes of an Italian decor

Behind every meal at a Big Mamma restaurant is the promise to its customers that they will be transported to Italy. As soon as you walk in the door, the waiters’ lilting accent, the smells wafting through the kitchen, and the menu foreshadow the experience. But before all that, to persuade customers to (wait, then) step into the restaurant, the founders have already ignited the Italian experience—on social media.

One of Big Mamma’s strengths lies in the fact that they exclusively serve products imported by small Italian producers, and that everything is homemade by Italian chefs. And we’re aware of all that before we’ve ever tasted anything off the menu: on the website, users are greeted by a video showing the arrival of a mozzarella shipped directly from the small Italian producer.

On social media, a video of the making of fresh pasta highlighting the authentic nature of the Big Mamma experience was viewed over 64,000 times on Instagram, and 7,000 times on Facebook.

The journey to Italy continues with the friendly squadra.

Ingredient n°2: An offbeat communication strategy built around the “squadra,” an irreverent and affable team

Large smiles and Italian hospitality greet every customer in the form of Big Mamma’s staff. Out of 300 employees, 280 are Italian. Members of the squadra (average age: 25) are strong assets conveying charm and personality to reinforce the Big Mamma experience, but also to communicate in an effective way. They’re showcased in a number of endearing portraits and humorous videos shared on the group’s social media accounts. To celebrate the opening of La Belleza in Lille, the Italian team was tasked to repeat chti (typical of the North of France) expressions with their accent, and to taste some Maroilles, the region’s famous cheese… The result: the video was viewed over 30,000 times on Instagram, got people smiling, and reinforces the squadra’s likableness and people’s goodwill towards it.

The Italianness of the staff is regularly emphasized on social media. On Facebook, a French “class” was filmed and shared, again in the interest of amusing people and presenting members of the squadra as likable buddies we’d like to be friends with.

On social media they are funny, easy-going, and express themselves at the right moments: for Mother’s Day, team members celebrated their mamma with humor on the group’s social media accounts:

When a restaurant wants to advertise that a restaurant is exceptionally closed or that there are new job openings, the squadra, like a merry band of friends, is used again as a communication tool.


Ingredient n°3: Adopting a light and playful “con molto amore” tone on social media

Diners are bound to smile as they read Ober Mamma’s menu and discover pizzas named the “Connect Four” (four-cheese pizza), the “Instagram Regina,” or the “Norma makes videos” (named after the French Youtuber, Norman Makes Videos). The group’s communication is handled with a lot of finesse and humor, in their restaurants as well as online. Norman was prompted to react on Twitter:

On the menu at La Bellezza, other silly names like “Broco Sifredi” or “Tell me the truffle” raise a smile.

Ingredient n°4: Forge a bond with the audience, share personal news, and interact with followers on every post

The tone adopted on social media is warm and playful, as if every customer or follower was part of the Big Mamma team. To that end, the squadra talks to its “beach boys,” “friends,” or “Bee Gees” to announce a new menu, a new opening, or a contest:

With that approach, Big Mamma has managed to gather an audience of almost 20,000 on Facebook, 56,000 on Instagram, and it increases by 9 percent every month, strong evidence that people’s infatuation with the group hasn’t died down.

A classic but useful device: followers are often invited to tag “a good buddy” with whom they would share a Big Mamma feast. Keep in mind: they’re not contests, only regular posts encouraging people to leave comments.

The group’s owners also take the time to reply to most negative reviews on TripAdvisor, TheFork, and Yelp. Incidentally, the majority of negative comments come from people who were let down by the long waiting line and weren’t able to try the Big Mamma experience, proof, if any were required, that the concept works.

Ingredient n°5: Quality content created by customers and shared on social media

The restaurant’s decor, the tables, the tableware, the famous copper pans filled with pasta—all things stamped with the Big Mamma identity. A photo taken in one of the trattorias is immediately recognizable.


The difficulty of getting a table, which is partly due to the restaurants not taking reservations, increases the bandwagon effect and incites people to take pictures of themselves and their food once they get inside one of the trattorias and share them on social media. Instagram counts over 50,000 mentions of any of the Big Mamma restaurants—double the amount of #BigFernand mentions.

Ingredient n°6: Highly publicized openings and a public interest sustained thanks to influencers

Food and lifestyle influencers keep flocking to Big Mamma’s restaurants and sharing their pictures tailor-made for Instagram (thank you visual identity, pretty tableware, and appetizing food). The most high-profile influencers get invited to share their experience on social media. The lesser-known ones can get a table reservation (which the restaurants usually don’t accept), but have to pay the bill. The power of the Big Mamma brand is such that it’s capable of attracting influencers almost naturally.

But Big Mamma still needs influencers: indeed, the group’s most recent creation, La Felicità, officially opened to the public on May 26, but the 24th and 25th were entirely dedicated to welcoming journalists and influencers so they could talk about the opening in all its details on social media.


Tigrane Seydoux and Victor Lugger, founders of Big Mamma, have succeeded in replicating an effective model by giving each restaurant its specificity and talking about it with the right tone, an appetizing image, a funny video, at the right time, and on the right channel. As a result, each restaurant generates close to 4 million euros in revenue, and continues to arouse interest outside its doors and on social media. Brava la squadra! After seven trattorias, the biggest food court in Europe, and a hidden bar, what’s next for the two entrepreneurs?

8 Practical Tips to Spot Fake Influencers

In just a matter of a few years, influencers have become choice partners for advertisers. Conveying an image of authenticity and proximity, they’re considered by some as 92 percent more credible than brands on social media. But things don’t always look so good in the world of influencer-advertiser collaborations and fake accounts have especially plagued the field.

Today, you can buy anything on social media platforms: followers, likes, even comments. Some influencers have no qualms about resorting to companies selling these figures to artificially grow their stats and get more profitable partnerships. Problem is, these fake influencers in reality have a community that’s very little engaged and can only guarantee weak results for collaborations. These practices have been criticized many times by advertisers, and by influencers themselves. Last January, the New York Times published a study highlighting the sale of followers by a company called Devumi by means of a database of 3.4 million fake accounts. The scandal made headlines.

These fake influencers have become a pet peeve for marketers and brand managers alike. How do you distinguish between real and fake accounts? How can you spot influencers with inflated audiences? Here are 8 tips from our team to make sure your collaborations with social media influencers start off on solid ground.

1. Get the right tools

On your own, it’ll be hard to get the adequate answers to know which of the accounts you’re gravitating toward are real and which are not. When you embark upon verifying influencer accounts, it is essential to get the right quality tools that’ll give you specific insights into the accounts at hand.

We recommend you use HypeAuditor and Social Blade, both of which give you an analysis of the current state of the most sought-after profiles. You’ll be able to access data on their engagement rates, the quality rates of the accounts’ communities, and their engagement. Available graphics will give you a clear and immediate overview of the accounts’ evolution.

We tried the two platforms by taking as an example Parisianavores, an influencer who we’ve recommended as one of the best food influencers you could work with in 2018.

2. Check if you’re dealing with a verified account

Several social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter have a feature allowing accounts of influential individuals to be verified. The feature is a response to a recurring issue encountered on these platforms: myriad fake celebrity accounts created by impersonators sprout up everyday. Your first reflex should thus be to check if there is a blue checkmark, as in the example below on Margot’s account youmakefahion, next to the influencer’s handle. If it is the case, you can go ahead, the account was indeed verified by the platform and the owner isn’t a fake influencer.

Still, relying on the “blue checkmark” certification isn’t enough, as it is only reserved for prominent influencers with large communities. Micro-influencers, as well as many ‘classic’ influencers, cannot set their sights on the verified badge at their level. To spot the cheaters, looking at other criteria is necessary.

3. Look into the evolution of the influencer’s follower base

One of the important criteria to look into is how linear the evolution of the influencer’s follower count is. If you notice they’ve won an important number of followers in a single day, it is likely that they’ve resorted to buying a follower base. An uneven evolution of the number of followers, with periods of high acquisition rates followed by high loss rates, isn’t a good sign.

Yet beware, strong acquisition rates aren’t necessarily the sign of fraud! Before making hasty judgments, it’s important to check whether these peaks cannot simply be explained by the influencer’s activity. If the account owner carried out a high-profile operation (a partnership, a performance, a media apparition...), the peak has an explanation, and the influencer can be trusted.

On the above example, Social Blade indicates that Anaïs from Parisianavores gained over 1,000 followers in a matter of days. While the peak could be regarded as suspicious, a quick look at her Instagram account shows that it matches her posting on August 18 a photo of her husband and newborn—a post which had a lot of success with her audience, with over 2,300 likes and 80 comments.

4. Check the influencer’s engagement rate

An influencer with a large audience but generating little engagement on their posts has likely inflated their follower count. It’s important to understand that the power of an influencer’s community isn’t calculated in terms of numbers, but in terms of quality. Indeed, micro-influencers are more and more valued by advertisers: they may have smaller communities, but tend to have the most engaged. The relationship that an influencer builds and maintains with their audience and the interactions that their content generates are more meaningful vectors of reliability. The most important thing is to calculate engagement rates by comparing the average number of likes on the last set of posts to the number of followers. If the rate is lower than 2 percent, better to remain wary.

Social Blade and HypeAuditor both calculate influencers’ engagement rate. On the above example from HypeAuditor, our influencer case study’s engagement rate is indicated as 4.97 percent. The rate being higher than 2 percent, there should be no doubt about the authenticity of the account Parisianavores.

5. Understand the community supporting the influencer

Following someone on social media in the hopes that they’ll follow you back is a common practice with influencers. It’s way to inflate their communities without resorting to buying followers. That’s why it’s important to check the influencer’s follower/following ratio. If the account has a number of accounts followed almost as important as their number of followers, it’s likely they’ve used that practice. Their audience will be of little interest to marketers since it generally comes with a low engagement rate.

To go further, it’s important to check whether followers are truly interested by the content published on the account. To that end, followers are separated in three categories:

  • “real people,” the most interesting followers from a marketing point of view since they represent those who followed the account out of real interest
  • “mass follows,”
  • and suspicious accounts

Those last two categories are problematic. “Mass follows” refer to accounts following a great many people. They don’t represent a quality audience since their feeds are likely to be drowning in posts from all the accounts they follow: they won’t probably see most of yours. Suspicious accounts represent ghost accounts or accounts generated by bots. They obviously serve no interest for you since there is no real person behind the account.

If the rate of mass follows and suspicious accounts is higher than 30 percent, do not trust the influencer and look somewhere else: their community won’t give you the engagement rates you’re looking for.

6. Check the type of comments left on their posts

It’s important to take the time to inspect what kind of comments are left on the influencer’s posts. A high number of comments isn’t always the sign of an engaged community! These days, a majority of what constitutes social media KPIs can be bought, even comments. So, if most comments are extremely generic or consist of onomatopoeia and emojis, chances are they were bought by the influencer or were left there by bots. Authentic comments will be those directly relating to the post, or tagging other accounts.

Above, we can see that Anaïs posted a photo of her husband and baby on Instagram. The comments specifically refer to the post, the first to the caption added by the influencer, the second to the photo. All clear on the bot front.

7. Measure the influencer’s authority

Measuring an influencer’s authority can also be a token of audience’s quality. If they’re followed by several other important influencers and they’re often tagged by them, you can rest assured: it means the influencer community recognizes them as serious. Let’s not forget that influencers are the first to denounce fake accounts that damage their image in the eyes of audiences and marketers. Last June, Instagram and YouTube star Guillaume Ruchon, also known as Guiruch, looked into analysis of 10 influencer accounts to speak out the abusive practices.

In the aftermath of his video, which was viewed a number of times, Guillaume was the target of several of the scammers’ ire, which he was able to take with humor as shown in the post above.

8. Look more closely into whether the most active followers are influencers

On the other hand, you should also be wary of influencer communities. Some of them are resorting to another practice still unknown by the public: pods. Pods are groups of people gathering in private chats and encouraging each other to like and leave comments on other influencers’ posts. This method allows them get a better position on the app. The results are obviously faked since the engagement rate doesn’t represent the interest shown by people having liked or left a comment on the post. We recommend you monitor the identity of the few most active followers: if most of them are influencers, it’s usually not a good sign.


For a collaboration between brand and influencer to be successful, trust is key. The controversies generated these last few months by the media and by influencer communities have forced the latter to prove their credentials, and to demonstrate their authenticity not only to advertisers, but to their followers as well. It is now evident that the main criteria to pick an influencer shouldn’t be the size of their audience, but its quality . It’s useful to know that it’s sometimes more interesting to work with micro-influencers who benefit from extremely engaged audiences (60 percent more that very popular accounts), than with celebrities with hundreds of thousands or millions of followers who aren’t, in reality, very loyal to them.

Restaurants: The Top 9 Food Influencers in Paris to Market your Restaurant

For restaurants, having a strong social media presence is essential to establish their online visibility and attract customers. So how do you build an effective and thriving social media presence? By collaborating with the right food influencers.

Are you looking for the best restaurants in Paris? Are you wondering which Instagram accounts you should follow to keep track of all the latest food trends?

Or are you a restaurant owner, looking to find a new audience of customers by getting the top influencers in Paris to talk about your establishments?

Here’s a list of our favorite influencers, those whom we trust the most, whose posts we save, and whose recommendations we read with trepidation before choosing what tonight’s restaurant will be.

Raphaële Marchal — The passionate gourmet

She’s a food journalist on C8 Channel, she writes for Fou de Pâtisserie, Fou de Cuisine, My Little Paris, and Mint Magazine. Raphaële has good taste, and knows how to share it with other people. She regularly writes about her favorite culinary discoveries on her blog and Instagram account Enrangd’oignons, always with astuteness and humor.

Is your restaurant keen on generous, gourmet-but-not-too-healthy cooking? Raphaële has to stop by and try it.

Mina Soundiram — The most likable street-foodista in Paris

Always on the lookout for the best Parisian joints and the latest street food gems, Mina shares her greatest finds on the winning show Très Très Bon on Paris Première and on Instagram. She also writes for the food section of a number of media outlets. When you ask Amandine Péchiodat, the editor-in-chief of My Little Paris, to talk about her favorite food writer, Mina is the one she mentions. No limit on our street-foodista’s love of good food: vegetarian, carnivorous, exotic or local, healthy or decadent…

If your pastrami sandwich can challenge those of Katz’s, if you’ve mastered fig desserts like no one else, or that you simply serve real, good street food—Mina is your guy.

Anaïs from the Parisianavores blog — The sunny mom foodie

A mom full of energy, humor, and love for good food, Anaïs makes us look at the quiet 15th arrondissement of Paris with a fresh perspective, but also the 11th, Montreuil, and many other Parisian neighborhoods. Between two photos of plates full of food or of French pastries, she shares with her audience bonding moments with her two children. On Instagram, the account Parisianavores has already gathered an audience of over 37,000 foodies.

If your restaurant is kid-friendly—Anaïs should be talking about it.

Tal Spieger — The pastry chef with the best footwear in Paris

Do you serve beautiful desserts or unique and exceptional pastries? Then it’s Tal Spiegel, the chef behind the account Desserted_in_Paris who should be presenting your concept to his 136,000 followers. Where does the originality of the account lie? The chef always shoots pastries from the same angle, simultaneously revealing a pair of quite unusual shoes… that always match the pastry!

Are you particularly proud of your lemon pie? We’re pretty sure Tal will have the matching shoes to showcase it.

Stéphanie Guillemette — The octopus superfan and healthy eatery addict

The lovely French-Brazilian Stéphanie Guillemette loves trying new restaurants. In addition to her colorful homemade breakfasts, she shares her experiences with precision and honesty in her Instagram stories and gives recommendations on where to eat well in Paris—lots of fine spots serving healthy, vegetarian, or pesco-vegetarian food. She’s even taken a leap and occasionally lends her cooking talents to restaurants she likes such as 5 Pailles or the Café Foufou.

If you have octopus, avocado toasts, sweet potatoes, or acaï bowls on your menu, chances are Stéphanie should come to your restaurant.

NO DIET CLUB — The craziest foodie couple in Paris (and London)

It’s in the “Experiences” section of Airbnb that Claudia and Anthony have made a name for themselves. Real food porn enthusiasts, they take people biking through the capital in small groups to go exploring their favorite spots. The four-hour “Food Tour” is punctuated by delicious stops for pizzas, croque-monsieurs, burgers, chocolate, pastries…

For those who thought they would trim down with four hours of biking, it’s kind of a bust. But to fill your stomach and laugh plenty, it’s more than a win. To make your restaurant a stop on the trip, you can contact Claudia and Anthony on Instagram.

Fulguropain — The authentic sweet tooth

The rare treasure among influencers: he refuses to be invited, picks the spots he’ll try, and shares his opinion with precision and honesty. Arnaud can eat anything but mostly talks about pastries. His obsession? Flans. Rumor has it he’s going to open a new account dedicated to the best flans in the country, and even if it doesn’t happen, you still have quite enough content in his posts to tour the best flans in Paris.

If your dessert menu is well looked after, if you take particular care of where your products come from, and if working with local producers is important to you, chances are Arnaud would like to take a look at your restaurant.

Laura — The breakfast and brunch specialist

Laura shares her bright energy and foodie pleasures on her Instagram account Les Paris de Laura. Every month, she organizes a brunch with several followers and describes her experience on a dedicated Instagram account.

Do you offer a generous brunch in Paris or in the vicinity which you’d like people to know about? Contact Laura to set up an insta brunch!

Erwin Kuhn — The foodie photographer

Photographer and owner of the account Infatuation_Paris, Erwin tries every good restaurant in Paris, and makes it known which are worth the trip and what item to order on the menu. Thanks to his beautiful photographs, the quality of his recommendations, and his sense of humor, Erwin has seen his audience grow by around 6 percent every month.

Do you serve a tasty, sophisticated brand of cuisine? Erwin is your man.

The 6 Best Food Podcasts to Listen To Right Now

The rise of food radio shows and foodcasts, podcasts about food, is yet another proof that food is one of people’s favorite cultural subjects.

Photo podcasts food

More than a cliché, it is a fact: the average Joe/Jane talks about food all the time, even when they’re already seated at the dinner table. So, for this month of summer where we know most of you are bathing in the sun with family or friends, we wanted to share our most appetizing audio experiences… Something to feed your conversations and make your mouth water.

An overview of the best French food podcasts (en français, of course, so you can order in the language of Molière next time you’re in Paris) you should listen to right now:

1. J’ai faim, the food podcast from My Little Paris and François Simon that’ll have you drooling

Amandine Péchiodat, the editor-in-chief at My Little Paris, admits it: food is embedded in the culture of her company. If you’re lucky to one day meander through their pretty offices, you’ll soon notice that a kitchen stands in every room. Even clearer: a chef regularly cooks for the teams and customers, and “pasta days” (cooking contests between co-workers) are often organized. In other words, there’s no kidding when it comes to food at My Little Paris!

The idea of a food podcast series had been running through Amandine’s mind for a while. A meeting with François Simon, the renowned food critic (whose face no one knows), was able to crystallize that idea. His history with My Little Paris began with several collaborations, like this video beating the drum for pickles, or this column in which the critic recommended Parisian joints where people could eat for less than 10 euros. The whole thing takes off, the editor and the critic click; they decide to continue.

Illustration du critique François Simon

Portrait (incognito, of course) of François Simon by Kanako, illustrator at My Little Paris

The “coup de foudre for his writing and sharp knife and fork” compels them to go further, Amandine tells us. For her, there’s no doubt that “his characteristic voice,” his writing, and his astute reviews would be the magical ingredients of an excellent recipe for a food podcast. All bets are off, and it’s a success. The result is unequivocal: this series of 5 foodcasts should be savored without restraint.

les podcasts food "J'ai Faim" de My Little Paris

Photo: J’ai Faim, MyLittleParis

In 3 minutes 30, to the sound of the critic’s captivating voice, you’re invited to discover those moments which have all made us hungry at one point or another: the long wait after ordering at a restaurant, the long-awaited arrival of the pizza at the table, the unadulterated pleasure of eating with one’s fingers… The joy of listening to J’ai faim stems from something between sensuality, as sustained by the critic’s voice, and laughter, cultivated by his words.

P.S. For more flavor, we recommend you enjoy these episodes right when hunger rears its head. And not to worry: if there are only five episodes available now, plans for other episodes are in place.

2. A poêle, the podcast food laying chefs bare

In this podcast, Julie Gerbet, a food critic (Le Fooding, Elle à Table, Pariscope…), gets busy laying bare her chef guests. Those who spend more days in the kitchen and less in the spotlight talk in these one-hour episodes about their passions, where they find inspiration, but also the hardships they’ve faced, their doubts and fears. In conversation with the journalist host, some of the most noteworthy chefs of our generation, female and male, reveal themselves in all their intricacies, allowing us to have a glimpse of who stands behind the figure of the chef.

Les podcast food "A Poêle"

Photo: À Poêle, Julie Gerbet

You can listen to the two-star chef Michel Sarran talk about his experience on Top Chef, where he’s been a jury member for a number of years, or about the pain that’s behind every one of his creations. You can also listen to Julia Sedefdjian who, at 21 years old, is the youngest Michelin-starred chef in France, or to Victor Lugger and Ciro Cristiano, two of the founders of Big Mamma, who, on a different note, talk about their entrepreneurial story, waiting lines, margins, and Margherita pizzas.

You get it: À Poêle takes us out on a trip from one culinary world to another, from one intimacy to the next, to discover colorful personalities made richer from their differences.

13 episodes are available today. The second season, in production, will air next September.

3. Casseroles, the food podcast highlighting the suggestive power of food

Food is more than a matter of acquired taste; it also reflects our culture, our family traditions… Ultimately, it’s because food is so intimate that it has this ability to rekindle memories. It’s what Zazie Tavitian wanted to highlight with every 20-minute episode of her podcast Casseroles, during which she sneaks into the house of someone she knows and asks them to cook for her while telling her stories.

Les podcasts food "Casseroles"

Photo: Casseroles by Binge Media

From her sister who cooks their grandmother’s chocolate cake recipe while reminiscing about shared childhood memories, to her friend Allison who makes spring rolls which takes her back to the Vietnamese roots she’s never talked about with her journalist friend… Casseroles gives us access to a story whose protagonist is Zazie herself, and walks us around peacefully in her world of food populated by her loved ones.

4. Plan culinaire, the food podcast answering all the food questions you’re asking yourself

Why do we stand in line for two hours just to eat a pizza? Why are we addicted to breakfast cereals? We know you’ve already asked yourself these questions. Well, Plan Culinaire, the new podcast from Louie Media is here to answer them all! This monthly podcast hosted by Nora Bouazzouni and Mélissa Bounoua dissects our eating habits and behaviors to explain our society, but also to analyze the current landscape of the food sector.

Les podcasts food "Plan Culinaire"

Photo: Plan Culinaire from Louie Media

From one question to the next, we wonder, we think, we ponder, we’re entertained, and we come out of each 20 minutes less bewildered.

The first season is airing right now.

5. L’Epicurieuse, a topical food podcast covering the latest news in the culinary world

Waste-less cooking, offal, or the best chocolates in Paris have no more secrets for you? It probably means you’re always on the lookout for the latest trends in the food sector, and we have the right podcast for you: L’Épicurieuse, a monthly food podcast covering, analyzing, and turning inside out the latest food oddities of the day.

Les podcasts food "l'Epicurieuse"

Photo: L’Épicurieuse by Delphine Le Feuvre

In every ten-minute episode, Delphine Le Feuvre goes off exploring these idea labs which are, in their own way, revolutionizing the culinary world. She also highlights the brains behind the trends, leaving space for the human aspect which, as she tells us, is at the heart of cooking itself.

6. On va déguster, François-Régis Gaudry’s cult radio show

Last but not least, the ultimate food podcast that’ll never go out of style: On va déguster, the food show with a cult following on France Inter. From season to season, François-Régis Gaudry and his sidekicks Elvia Masson and Dominique Hutin thrill our senses. Every Sunday, during pre-lunch drinks, you’ll know where to find us: in front of the radio, listening religiously to our weekly rendez-vous.

Les podcasts food "On va déguster" de France Inter

Photo: France Inter, On va déguster

Every week, the team of foodies manages to share their enthusiasm for food like no one else. Little, everyday noises like a simmering pan, champagne bubbles, the rattling of a spoon, are at the heart of the experience which the hosts invite us to listen to, and not just hear. With On va déguster, we get the full cooking experience which is not only enjoyed by taste, but by desire, sight, and smells which are described to us in detail and which we can savor live from the radio.

Happy listening to you all!

Influencers: the New Kings of Restaurant Marketing

8 young people out of 10 claim they’ve already discovered a product via an influencer. These days, influencers increasingly shape young people’s consumption habits. If the first few made their name in the realm of beauty and fashion, a number of them share their daily food intake, whether it was cooked at home or enjoyed at a restaurant they liked and now recommend.

Influenceur food restaurant

The power of persuasion that influencers wield, as well as the value they bring to a restaurant’s communications strategy seem evident. More accessible than food critics, more authentic than ads broadcast by the media—have influencers become the new kings of culinary press relations? Or are they the fruit of a fleeting and fragile trend? How can restaurant owners separate real from fake influencers? How do they collaborate with them? What are the limits of these collaborations? Read our analysis to find answers to all these questions.

1. Who are influencers?

Someone with an audience that trusts them

An influencer is first and foremost an individual who’s gathered an audience of a few thousand people on one or more social media platforms and shares with their followers their a slice of their everyday life.

Some influencers focus on a specific theme (beauty, fashion, travel, food, sport…), while others branch out to become “lifestyle” influencers. Margot from the Youmakefashion blog began by talking about her first love, fashion (with almost 250,000 followers on Instagram). She then launched a second account, this time documenting her nutritional rebalancing, in which she shares her recipes, dishes, fitness routines, but also talks about her travels and the latest restaurants she’s visited.

restaurant test influenceur malou

Images, videos, articles, and even podcasts: influencers have many different platforms of expression. Food influencers favor photos and videos to highlight “foodporn” content,” and tend to prefer Instagram to publish their content.

The difference between an “influencer” and someone who’s simply active on social media is that the influencer has build a real audience that follows them and listens to them for content or advice, with whom they’ve cultivated a sense of trust and use their power of persuasion.

Three categories of influencers

Celebrities: they’re influencers who’ve already gathered several hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of followers. Exhibiting their lives on social media is their full-time job; they make a living out of it, and are in general managed by agencies. Contacting them is difficult, and they typically only accept offers if they’re paid for their posts.

Mid-tier influencers: they have between dozens or hundreds of thousands of followers. In general, their engagement rate per post amounts to 3 to 10 percent. They’re more accessible than the first category of influencers, and can eventually ask for financial compensation for a collaboration.

Micro-influencers: with an audience of between thousands and dozens of thousands of followers, they can generate strong engagement rates, but mostly enjoy a strong audience growth rate. They tend not to ask for pay but for other advantages in kind. Spotting the most promising micro-influencers can often guarantee the best return on investment.

2. What point is there for a restaurant to collaborate with influencers?

Gaining visibility

Having influencers come to your restaurant is a way to gain traction on social media and to make it known to more people. Today, some users see an influencer as 92 percent more credible than a brand. Their posts are 24 times more likely to generate engagement on social media. By sharing their experience in a restaurant in “stories”—short and short-lived videos or photos where they give their followers a glimpse of a restaurant’s decoration, products, menu, and even backstage in the kitchen—influencers can offer restaurants a consequential platform to be seen, but most importantly allow them to win over their audience’s trust more easily.

Below is an example of what these stories can look like from the account of Paris street-food specialist Foodease showcasing the restaurant BMK:

influencer food restaurant story

Recently, Instagram added a feature called “Highlights” which made it possible to add permanent links to stories to your profile. Content that was previously short-lived can now be preserved, filtered, and pinned to an Instagram profile. Some influencers allot a “highlight” to a single restaurant, while others sort their highlights by category or location.

Widening a restaurant’s audience

Stories and posts published by influencers can increase a restaurant’s reach on social media. In the wake of an influencer event we organized for the one-month anniversary of Pizzou, Paris’s new 100 percent Made in France pizzeria, the restaurant tripled its weekly audience:

Increasing revenue

Influencers wield a real power of recommendation. If they liked a restaurant, they will promote it to their audience. Pizzou organized an event for influencers to discover the restaurant, learn about its history, and taste its products and one-of-a-kind pizzas. The event took place on a Tuesday, one month after the official opening. The day after, Pizzou registered its biggest revenue since it opened (Fridays and weekends included), whereas “Wednesday evening is usually a calm shift,” as Vivien, one of the co-founders, tells us.

Creating content for a low price

Influencers are usually good at photography and taking videos. They’re capable of producing high-quality content that they share on social media and that the restaurant can then re-share on their own accounts.

3. When is a good time to collaborate with influencers?

The opening of a restaurant

To announce the opening of a restaurant, press relations are essential (article to come), but today, they’re worthwhile only if when combined with “influencer relations.”. La Felicità, the latest giant from the people behind Big Mamma, opened its doors to the public on May 26, but dedicated the preceding two days to welcoming journalists and influencers.

A change or new offer

Influencers can communicate about the launch of a new offer. The Westminster Hotel spread the news about its new pastries and tea-time service with the help of Instagram influencers. The burger chain PNY, which is quite communication-savvy, regularly collaborates with influencers to talk about the new things happening at their restaurants (often with an offbeat sense of humor, much as their stunt for the 50-year anniversary of McDonald’s Big Mac).

(Translation: “The Big Mac is celebrating its 50th birthday. For the occasion, @pnyburger has a new Tribute burger, definitely better than the original.”)

The creation of an exclusive offer in collaboration with the influencer

Influencers can go beyond simply trying a restaurant and talking about it on social media; they can collaborate with the restaurant to create a dish, a recipe, or a limited offer with their name attached. In January 2018, Roomies, a new gourmet burger place, collaborated with Charlotte from The Food Spy to create “the burger of the month.” She designed the recipe for the burger, but also communicated about the new menu item on social media, which allowed Roomies to widen its audience and have customers come in to try out the “PariswithCharlotte Burger.”

Continual collaborations to keep up a restaurant’s visibility

Paris New York Hamburgers  or the Big Mamma restaurants regularly invite influencers throughout the year to share videos or photos of the food and as a result ensure their restaurant’s continued online visibility.

4. How to pick the best influencers

Quantitative indicators

The number of followers is the first (and easiest) criteria to spot. We talk about an influencer starting at a few thousand followers.

The second number to look at is the average engagement rate generated on posts, which takes into account every form of interaction a user can have on published content: likes, comments, shares, clicks, as well as instances of the restaurant being tagged on social media. Not all interactions have the same value: a post being shared is the sign of stronger engagement than a simple “like.”

Qualitative indicators

It’s important to understand with precision which themes the influencer gravitates toward, their editorial policy, and the way in which they communicate with their followers. Inviting a vegan influencer to a restaurant serving meat and cheese, or a gluten-free one to a restaurant with no corresponding item on the menu, are examples of obvious mistakes to avoid.

The location of the influencer’s audience should also be taken into account: an influencer with 200,000 followers living mostly abroad or in the country wouldn’t be of much help for a Parisian restaurant.

Finally, the quality of an influencer’s followers is vital: is an influencer reaching the right audience targeted by the restaurant (age group, socio-economic profile, location, interests…)? One of the criteria to look for is what kind of interactions each post triggers: are they numerous, of good quality? If the majority of comments consists of emojis or short messages (of the “cool pics” or “great feed” variety), it’s likely they were left by robots and the influencer doesn’t have a real audience but resorted to hacks to acquire new followers (article to come).

Another important criteria: are there pictures of food in an influencer’s feed? An influencer may have a real audience that follows and trusts them, but if they’re not used to posting about food, they may only do a story in the best case scenario, and the added value for restaurant owners will be lower. Nina, from the Callmevoyou account, regularly posts food content with recipes she tries or restaurants she tries out.

5. How do restaurants collaborate with them?

Restaurants have to offer real added value to influencers for them to want to collaborate: trying out an original, generous, gourmet type of cooking, discovering a nice place, talking about themes that their audience can relate to, or going even further by suggesting they invite one or more of their followers.

Taking a lot of care when initializing contact

Before thinking of how to collaborate with an influencer, it’s important to have figured out their taste, the last restaurants they tried and liked, as well as what their community seems to appreciate. “Lower-tier” influencers can be contacted via private messages on Instagram, but it is more professional to send an invitation, a press release, or press kit by email.

Having influencers over one-on-one or inviting them to an event

Invitation can be personalized. Usually, they’re (graciously) invited to try a restaurant with a +1. Still, organizing an entire event can have a much more important local and media impact. It’s essential, then, to invite groups of influencers who know each other already and like each other, but also to pick the best format for the event (seating charts can quickly become conundrums and put at risk the entire atmosphere).

To compensate financially or in kind?

When it’s about simply trying a restaurant, most influencers do not ask to be paid. However, if the restaurant owner clearly expects more work from the influencer, like a video montage or an article with edited pictures, an influencer can ask to be compensated financially (after all, all work deserves payment).

Offering added value with contests

An efficient way to collaborate with an influencer is to organize a contest. The influencer invites their audience to come forward in one of their posts, usually by tagging one of their friends to enter a draw (and eventually following the account of the restaurant on social media). The benefit is twofold:: the influencer offers real value to their followers by allowing them to win an invitation to a restaurant, while restaurant owners increase their visibility with the contest.

Using an agency?

The staff, if it’s social media-inclined, can of course take care of inviting influencers from time to time. However, identifying the best influencers, building a relationship with them, organizing entire events, reusing content, analyzing the media impact… all of this demands time which cannot be allocated at the cost of restaurant work and the care taken to serve customers. To carry out a real influencer marketing strategy, expand a restaurant’s visibility, and increase revenue, we recommend restaurants work with agency.

6. What are the limits of influencer marketing?

Authentic or sponsored content?

Passionate influencers will continue to discover new restaurants on their own. Others lose their credibility and only frequent places which invite them or pay them to come. It’s important to identify those who continue to share authentic content and thus preserve the bond of trust they’ve build with their followers.

Beware of “fake” influencers

There are influencers who boast of very high follower counts which turn out to be bogus. Indeed, it’s possible to use different types of softwares or robots (which people often have to pay for) to grow one’s audience with “fake followers.” You can read another article on the subject on Malou’s blog.

Burger King: the Communication Secrets Behind the Restaurant’s Triumphant Return in France

Monday, December 16, 2013. That date marked the return of Burger King in Paris. Four years later, the chain counts over 208 restaurants in the country. To what can we attribute this success?

A well-honed sense of humor, playful nods at the competition, a cultivated sense of proximity with their customers... With all these tools, Burger King has managed to find its place in the French fast-food landscape, and then some: the chain has been experiencing a double-digit growth rate since its return, and is aiming for 2 billion euros in revenue in France for 2020.

The fast-food chain’s success can be explained in large part by the communication strategy designed by the king of burgers which relies on humor, a balance between digital and street marketing, and a real “focus on social media,” as Marine Dupas, the group’s marketing director, confides. Let’s roll the tape on this success story.

A long-awaited and carefully planned comeback in France

July 1997: Burger King leaves France. The roll-out of the chain in France hasn’t been a success. The economy of scale isn’t enough and the restaurants aren’t profitable.

November 2012: A press release announces the return of Burger King in France. The company is kicking things off slowly: a restaurant at the airport in Marseille, then a second one in partnership with the Autogrill group on a highway rest stop near Reims.

Monday, December 16, 2013: The opening of Burger King Saint-Lazare kicks off a series of new restaurant openings. Twitter ignites and Burger King manages to keep the fire alive.

An ingenious balance between street and digital marketing exploits the perception of rarity

As Marine Dupas tells us, “the brand has often used this perception of how few Burger Kings there are in the country” to create buzz. The method is similar for every new opening.

The announcement of a new restaurant opening is made both online and in situ. Three months before the opening, the chain sets up big heavy-duty signs to let everyone know about the upcoming opening—always with a little joke.

(Translation: “Soon here: BURGER KING. You’ll soon have a good reason to turn left.”)

Burger King has turned its construction sites into powerful communication tools. The company also prints out tweets by its customers with a surprising or funny response on construction tarps. People passing by can have a laugh, it’s shared online, and the brand continues to get people talking.

(Translation: “Whenever there’s a burger king (sic) in Lille ill buy you all a menu,remember that” / “Dear @vanoukia, luckily no one thought of printing your tweet on a tarp.”)

(Translation: “Yo it’s not even 12 burger king’s packed open other restaurants” / “Hey @mroymusic, to make you happy we’re opening one here, C?”)

A communication strategy with strong local roots to attract more customers to the restaurants

At Burger King, a team within the marketing and communications department is dedicated exclusively to speeding up local activity: the team manages the openings and works to increase each restaurant’s visibility in their respective area.

Before every opening, the team shares a “local post,” something related to the news of the region on Facebook and Twitter. They’re “dark posts,” meaning they’re not visible on Burger King France’s national pages, but will be to users who are located in the area of a new restaurant (within a 40km radius).

Users who see the post can then sign up on a side page and receive an invitation with a free menu offered. “This process isn’t systematic, but works very well,” Marine explains.

A cultivated and well-displayed bond with its customers to generate buzz

Burger King entertains such an intense proximity with its customers that for Christmas—wait for it—he company offered its best fan on Facebook one of its restaurants!

(“To our biggest fan, Merry Christmas, Sullyvan.”)

As a reward for his loyalty, Burger King offered its most active fan on social media his own restaurant, with a reserved parking spot, a table named after him, one year of free burgers in every Burger King in the world…

The stunt was presented in a video that surpassed 60,000 views on YouTube and served the company’s name well.

At the heart of a media strategy to maximize brand awareness: social media

Burger King uses every social media platform differently to make the most of each. But one principle is constant throughout: “a strong brand personality; always a bit of arrogance and irony to not take ourselves too seriously.”

Twitter is used to mark the tone of the brand, both online by interacting with followers and on the street by printing out tweets and funny responses on construction site panels.

“On Instagram, users are the ones driving the Burger King account.” Indeed, the company mostly counts on User Generated Content as it regrams (or shares) content created by Instagram users. Not only does this considerably lowers the cost of content creation, it’s also a way to generate even more user engagement on the platform.

On Facebook, Burger King uses a very different strategy from McDonald’s, whose Facebook page is used to share information and managed by a very active community manager who answers comments and has a functional purpose they fill with humor.

At Burger King, the thing that matters most if user engagement. Most posts give incentives like free burgers or the title of “King or Queen of Burger King” to make people like the post and leave comments.

“Social media allows us to create a real and engaged community, to turn our followers into brand ambassadors,” Marine Dupas tells us. Community managers don’t answer every comment, “only pertinent comments where they feel they can make an impression with the tone of the brand.”

Burger King thus continues its expansion in France with a powerful communication strategy, strong local roots, and a clever use of social media. From now until 2020, every Quick restaurant will have become Burger Kings.

15 Practical Tips to Market your Restaurant on Instagram

With over 600 million active users every month and 95 million posts published every day, Instagram’s success has nothing left to prove. The social media platform has become more than essential to boost businesses’ online visibility. And it has become even more of a key player for restaurants: food is people’s third favorite type of content on Instagram.

Instagram isn’t difficult to use, but it’s best to follow a few guidelines to make the most of what the platform has to offer. Here are a few tips and tricks to take your restaurant’s Instagram account to the next level, reach a new audience of potential customers, and convert them to real ones.

1) Create a business and restaurant account

The first step is obviously to get your restaurant on Instagram. Once you’ve created an account, the only thing you have to do is go to your Profile, click on Settings and Account, check the “Switch to Business Profile” option, and fill the required information.

You’ll then be able to access your account’s statistics (number of views, number of profile views following a post, number of clicks…).

Make sure your restaurant is easily identifiable: your username has to match the name of your restaurant, or at least be coherent with your concept, so people can readily find you. Keep your profile public so that people who don’t follow you can also see your posts (and be compelled to follow you!). Remember to put up all the important information in your bio, namely the restaurant’s phone number, address, and opening hours, as well as a link to your website.

To this day, 8 million businesses have already created dedicated Instagram accounts, a number which confirms how well professionals have embraced the platform. The next step for beginners would be to learn how to use it efficiently to reach their goals.

2) Publish scrumptious photos that’ll make your followers hungry

Instagram is by far the most visual social media platform: its raison d’être was to allow people to publish quality pictures with the filters available on their phone. It is more and more routine for restaurants to make a name for themselves and build their reputation on Instagram. Visual content being more appreciated than textual content, be sure to publish beautiful, appetizing photos on your account that will easily generate engagement.

New York City’s most famous deli restaurant, Katz’s Delicatessen, regularly shares “food porn” photos highlighting the mouth-watering quality of their sandwiches. And it works: these types of posts often get them over 3,000 likes.

3) Settle on a singular visual identity to shape your online presence

Using the same filter for your published content will lend a harmonious and aesthetic effect to your feed. Continuity in your editorial policy is key. In your posts, make sure your logo appears and feel free to appropriate a few words or expressions that’ll set you apart. This is how your restaurant will be recognized: you’re building a brand identity for your restaurant, a strategy that Pizza Loves Emily in New York has applied very effectively:

4) Engage with your followers to build a relationship with them

It is paramount to interact with your followers and with other Instagram users to build a relationship with them. Find out what your audience’s interests are, what your followers like, their go-to spots, the accounts they follow… and use all that information in your interactions with them. Reply to all their messages and leave comments on their photos to show your interest. But don’t be too pushy—you don’t want to run the risk of being seen as a spam account.

5) Encourage your customers to publish content themselves

Finding a way to incite your followers and customers to publish their own content of your restaurant is a good way for you to get free advertising. That’s what is called UGC (user-generated content), content that is created and shared by customers, a way to spread more photos of your restaurant with a lesser cost and generate engagement with your customers who will be pleased to see their posts published on your account.

Paris New York favors UGC on Instagram, which has proved to be quite a good strategy for them. The burger restaurant set up a space in its bathroom entirely dedicated to the taking of selfies:

Burger King also encourages Instagram users to publish photos of their burgers. The chain account then relies on “regrams” to fill its feed:

6) Publish entertaining and appetizing content

Post pictures of your dishes that’ll have your followers mouth-watering by making it seem as though they can just taste the food through the screen. That’s all there is to food porn! Describe it with specifics: the taste, smell, texture… Feel free to use humor, to be entertaining: content that makes people smile or laugh is always more successful. Big Mamma manages to bring together food porn and humor, and generates excellent engagement rates on all its posts:

7) Use current events to publish pertinent content

The calendar year provides many opportunities to share timely content with your followers. You can extend your best wishes after the new year, during the holiday season, celebrate Mother’s Day, Halloween, Easter… Spot all the dates you can use and think up creative ideas for posts that will make your followers smile and create engagement. Our advice is also to share your own milestones with them: your chef has won an award, your restaurant celebrates an anniversary, you were talked about on the news… Use all the interactive channels at your disposal to communicate with them about these events and maintain a close link with your customer base.

8) Share videos

Videos generate good engagement rates and reach a wider audience. Why not show what’s going on in the kitchen, in the restaurant, or on your plates?

A “food porn” video shared by Benedict in Paris was viewed over 3,000 times:

Instagram’s story feature is a good tool to increase your visibility on the platform. Stories allow you to promote your storytelling strategy by communicating more directly with your customers. Whenever your restaurant is tagged in one of your customers’ stories, feel free to repost it on your own account with proper credits. That way, you can relate to your followers that an influencer, or even just a happy customer, has come to eat at your restaurant. Reposts of this kind are a token of trust for potential new customers—don’t forget to use them!

9) Organize contests to widen your reach

Contests can quickly increase your follower count and your restaurant’s online visibility. Our tip for contest guidelines is to make contestants like your post, follow your account, and tag friends in their comments. If the prize is appetizing enough, you can also ask that they share your post with a unique hashtag. Signature Restaurant in Algiers often uses contests to boost its visibility:

10) Use the right hashtags to maximize your visibility

Hashtags are a way for Instagram’s algorithms to better index and highlight your content so new users can see it. Be careful to use the most used hashtags to maximize your visibility! As an example, the hashtag #burger is used three times as often as #burgers; it is consequently wiser for you to use the first hashtag:

Here are a few of the most popular hashtags on Instagram:

#food: 260 million posts
#foodporn: 150 million posts
#yummy: 110 million posts
#instafood: 107 million posts

The food guide Le Fooding gives Instagram users the chance to be regrammed and thus be seen by thousands of people. To that end, you have tag the media outlet twice in your post, with a hashtag (#lefooding) and a mention (@lefooding). Paris restaurant Draco had one of its truffle pizza regrammed:

11) Create your own hashtag to track your restaurant's progress

Having a unique hashtag for your restaurant allows you to track your standing on Instagram. Paris New York uses that strategy with the singular hashtag #mercreditoilettes (#wednesdayrestroom):

12) Share behind the scenes content with your followers

In addition to photos of food, feel free to share content from backstage. Introduce the members of the team, highlight their personality, share anecdotes, pictures of the kitchen staff in action… It’s important for your customers to see everything that goes into preparing their food, and it can be gratifying for your team to be recognized. You may run a business account, but there are human beings behind all aspects of your restaurant!

The pizzeria Bianco often shares content featuring staff members. For Christmas, they highlighted members of the team with a lot of humor to boot:

13) Share news and up-to-date promotions to keep your customers coming back

Publish content about special deals, promotions and events: they’re a perfect way to attract customers to your restaurant.

14) Add emojis to boost your posts’ engagement rate

Emojis allow you to improve how well your posts generate engagement. They’re also a way to appear more sympathetic, and to build a closer bond with your followers. We recommend you use the knife and fork, sushi, burger, and pizza emojis that are very popular:

The influencer @stuffbeneats (40,000 followers) uses several emojis in his captions, and generates an average engagement rate of 7% on his posts, which is an excellent rate with an audience of this size.

15) Collaborate with influencers

A smart collaboration with an influencer can boost your restaurant’s online visibility. For a collaboration to be effective, you have to pick your influencers carefully: the menu and spirit of your restaurant have to be in line with the type of content published by the influencer.

Le Dersou recently collaborated with @lefrenchfood (19,600 followers on Instagram), who shared a photo of one of their dishes on his account:

You can even go further, like Roomies Burger who collaborated with @PariswithCharlotte to create a limited edition “PariswithCharlotte” burger:

Another influencer, Stéphanie Guillemette, organizes regular brunches with SLOE (but not exclusively), and takes care of promoting them ahead of time to fill the restaurant’s tables.