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Who Are Restaurant Influencers? A Guide to Successful Collaborations

May 11, 2023 7 min
Senior Content Manager at Eat App
Reviewed by
Co-founder and CEO of Eat App

Are you struggling to attract new customers to your restaurant? It might be time to tap into the power of restaurant influencers.

According to a recent study, 92% of consumers are more likely to make a restaurant reservation after seeing positive restaurant reviews or recommendations from an influencer. But who are these influencers, and how can you collaborate with them to boost your business? 

In this guide, we'll answer those questions and provide tips for successful influencer partnerships. From identifying the right influencers to crafting effective collaborations and checking important restaurant metrics, you'll learn everything you need to know to harness the power of restaurant influencers.

Key Takeaways

  • Restaurant influencers are social media users who have established a following based on their food, dining, and restaurant industry content. Collaborating with these influencers can help restaurants tap into their reach and influence to attract new customers and boost their business.

  • The pros of working with restaurant influencers include targeted marketing to a specific audience, increased brand visibility and social media presence, and the social proof they provide, which can influence consumer decision-making.

  • The cons include limited control over content creation, potential high costs, and the risk of influencers having fake followers.

  • Strategies for getting the most out of influencer marketing include providing customer data to influencers to help them create targeted content, setting clear goals aligned with the restaurant's marketing plan, and offering unique experiences to influencers that showcase the restaurant in an authentic way.


Who are restaurant influencers?

Restaurant influencers are social media users who have established a following based on their food, dining, and restaurant industry content. They may create blog posts, Instagram posts /stories, or YouTube videos that showcase their dining experiences, offer reviews and recommendations, and share insights into the latest food trends.

These influencers are important because they have the ability to sway the opinions and behaviors of their followers, who often trust their recommendations more than traditional restaurant advertising.

Famous restaurant influencers


Some famous restaurant influencers include food critic and writer Ruth Reichl and food blogger and cookbook author Molly Yeh, who have both amassed large followings and are highly respected in the food industry.famous restaurant influencers on Instagram


The “Restaurant Review” podcast has a lot of monthly listeners that come to get their opinion on restaurants all over the USA.famous podcast restaurant influencers


SandyMakesSense is one of the most popular travel and food influencers on YouTube. She has a mass audience that loves her for her honest reviews on food, restaurants, and places to visit.famous youtube restaurant influencer

Tik Tok

TiffyCooks is a food influencer and TikToker that shares restaurant reviews, fun recipes, and cooking tips on her channel.famous tik tok restaurant influencer

By collaborating with influencers like these, restaurants can tap into their reach and influence to attract new customers and boost their business.

The pros and cons of working with restaurant influencers

Working with restaurant influencers can be a powerful tool for restaurants looking to boost their marketing efforts.


  • Targeted marketing is one of the biggest advantages of working with influencers. By partnering with an influencer with a following that matches your target audience, you can reach potential customers more likely to be interested in your restaurant.
  • Partnering with an influencer also increases your brand's visibility and social media presence. When an influencer shares content featuring your restaurant, it can reach a larger audience and attract new followers to your social media pages.
  • Influencers provide social proof, which is a powerful psychological factor in consumer decision-making. When an influencer recommends your restaurant, their followers are more likely to trust their opinion and try out your restaurant themselves.


  • Limited control over the content that an influencer creates. While you can provide guidance and suggestions, ultimately, the influencer has creative control over their content.
  • Working with influencers can be expensive, especially if they have a large following. For example, a micro-influencer charges up to $125 per post on TikTok.
  • Fake followers. Some influencers may artificially inflate their follower counts, which can skew the results of any marketing efforts and lead to wasted resources. It's important to thoroughly research potential influencers and their audiences before entering into any collaborations to ensure that they are a good fit for your restaurant and will provide a worthwhile return on investment.

How to collaborate with restaurant influencers

Collaborating with restaurant influencers can be a great way to increase your restaurant's visibility and attract new customers. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to collaborate with food influencers:

1. Find the right food influencers for your restaurant business

To find restaurant influencers, start by researching influencers in your local area or talk to the nice and cool kids who are familiar with trends and social media. You can use social media platforms like your Instagram account and YouTube to search for influencers who align with your brand's values and target audience. Food influencers usually have “food blogger” or “restaurant influencer” in their bio, so you can type that in the search bar.

Look at their social media following, engagement rates, and content to determine if they're a good fit for your restaurant. Once you've identified potential influencers, you can approach them with an offer for collaboration.

2. Make an offer

When making an offer to collaborate with food influencers, it's important to set a budget for compensation and outline the type of collaboration you're interested in. This can include:

  • Sponsored posts
  • Hosted events
  • Giveaways
  • Brand ambassadors
  • Restaurant reviews

It's important to discuss the content and goals of the collaboration to ensure that both parties are on the same page.

3. Collaborate with influencers

When collaborating with food bloggers, it's important to be clear about your expectations and communicate openly. You can provide guidance and suggestions, like what message to share, which hashtags to use, and which meals to showcase. Ultimately, the influencer has creative control over their content. Be respectful of their creative process and give them the freedom to create content that will resonate with their followers because they have more experience than restaurant owners.

4. Measure the results

Finally, it's important to measure the results of your collaboration to determine its effectiveness. You can track social media metrics to see if the collaboration had a positive impact on your restaurant's marketing efforts. The most important restaurant KPI’s are:

  • Reach. The number of people who have seen the post/video and additional reach through shares, hashtags, and location tags.
  • Engagement. The number of likes, comments, shares, and saved posts.
  • Traffic. The amount of traffic generated to the restaurant’s social media or/and website.
  • Reservations. The number of reservations that occurred during or after the campaign.
  • Brand awareness. The number of social media mentions.

Use these insights to inform future collaborations and marketing strategies. By following these steps, you can successfully collaborate with restaurant influencers and reap the benefits of their reach and influence.

How to get the most out of influencer marketing

Influencer marketing can be a powerful tool for restaurants looking to increase their visibility and attract new customers. However, in order to get the most out of your influencer partnerships, it's important to have a clear strategy in place. Here are some key strategies to consider when collaborating with food bloggers:

Provide customer dataEat App customer data dashboard

One effective way to get the most out of influencer marketing is to provide customer and restaurant data and analytics to your influencers. Eat App is a great tool that can provide valuable data on customers, including their dining habits, favorite dishes, and preferred dining times. Influencers can use this information to create targeted content that resonates and turns their social media followers into customers.

Set clear goals

Another important strategy is to set clear goals for your influencer marketing campaign and make sure it is aligned with the overall restaurant marketing plan.

This could include:

  • increasing brand awareness,
  • promoting a new menu item,
  • or driving foot traffic to your restaurant.

By communicating your goals to your influencers and guiding them in the direction of your objectives, you can ensure that their content aligns with your broader social media marketing strategy.

Offer unique experiences

Lastly, offering unique experiences to your influencers can be a great way to showcase your restaurant in a compelling and authentic way. Consider inviting your influencers to spend a full day at your restaurant, enjoying your menu and capturing the unique moments that make your restaurant special. This type of content can be highly engaging and inspiring and can help to increase your restaurant's visibility and attract new customers.

Successful restaurant influencer campaign examples

Partnering with the right influencers can have a significant impact on your restaurant's marketing strategy. Here are some successful top restaurant influencer marketing campaign examples that demonstrate the power of this approach:

Shake ShackShake Shack restaurant influencer campaign

One standout campaign was run by Shake Shack, which collaborated with influencer @foodwithmichel to promote their new chicken sandwich. The influencer, with his own media company, created a video showcasing the sandwich and its delicious ingredients, which garnered over 42,000 views and significant engagement on social media. This helped to drive interest in Shake Shack's new menu item, increase restaurant sales and generate buzz around the brand.

Domino's Pizza

Another successful influencer marketing campaign was run by Domino's Pizza, which partnered with a group of influencers to promote their new plant-based pizza options. The influencers created content showcasing the pizzas and their unique flavors, which helped to generate buzz around the launch and encourage more customers to try the new menu items.

Chipotle Mexican GrillChipotle Mexican Grill restaurant influencer campaign

Chipotle Mexican Grill teamed up with YouTuber David Dobrik to promote their new menu items as part of their digital marketing strategy. The video generated almost 6 million views and significant engagement on social media, helping to increase awareness and interest in Chipotle's vegetarian and vegan options.

This campaign was successful because Dobrik's audience aligns with Chipotle's target market, and the influencer's enthusiasm for the brand and its new menu items came through authentically in the video.

By partnering with influencers who share your brand values and have a strong following among your target audience, you can create content that resonates and drives interest in your restaurant.

These examples demonstrate the power of partnering with the right influencers to promote your restaurant and its menu offerings. You can increase your brand awareness by creating emotional connections with their followers.


As the restaurant industry evolves, leveraging technology can play a significant role in successful marketing strategies. As Shawn Walchef says in his new restaurant influencers podcast, the most important things are connecting with customers and being found online.

Tools such as Eat App can provide valuable customer data that can be used to create targeted marketing campaigns to which you can measure success.  By utilizing such tools and collaborating with Instagram influencers or local influencers who are aligned with your brand values and target audience, restaurants can drive engagement and increase revenue. Whether you're a new restaurant just starting out or a well-established chain, the power of influencer marketing combined with innovative technology can help take your restaurant business to the next level.

So why not consider partnering with influencers and using tools like Eat App to help guide your marketing strategy and grow your successful business?


Who are the biggest food influencers?

The biggest food influencers are individuals or groups with a large social media following and creating content related to food, cooking, and dining out. Some examples of the biggest food influencers include Tasty, Bon Appetit, The Food Network, and Jamie Oliver. However, the list of popular food bloggers and influencers constantly evolves.

How do influencers work with restaurants?

Influencers can work with restaurants in various ways, such as creating sponsored posts on their social media feeds, writing reviews, hosting events, and more. The goal is to produce engaging content that drives interest in the restaurant and encourages followers to visit. When working with influencers, it's important to have a clear strategy and set expectations to ensure the partnership benefits both parties.

How do you become a restaurant influencer?

Becoming a restaurant influencer typically involves building a large following on social media and creating content related to good food, dining out, and cooking. To become a restaurant influencer, you can create and share high-quality content on platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. Engaging with your audience and networking with other food influencers can also help you grow your following and establish yourself as a reputable food influencer.

How do I ask an influencer to come to my restaurant?

When asking an influencer to come to your restaurant, it's crucial to have a clear pitch outlining the partnership's benefits and what you're looking to achieve. Reach out to influencers who align with your brand values and target audience, and personalize your pitch to demonstrate that you've done your research. Additionally, offering a unique experience, such as a customized tasting menu or behind-the-scenes tour, can help make your pitch stand out and increase the chances of a successful collaboration.



Senior Content Manager at Eat App

Elana Kroon used to work in restaurants before becoming a journalist and expert restaurant industry content creator at Eat App.

Reviewed by

Nezar Kadhem

Nezar Kadhem

Co-founder and CEO of Eat App

He is a regular speaker and panelist at industry events, contributing on topics such as digital transformation in the hospitality industry, revenue channel optimization and dine-in experience.

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