The Pandemic and Food Businesses: How Social Media Can Help

Food, glorious food. It’s one of the few things that isn’t cancelled right now, and for that, we’re incredibly grateful. If we have to be at home all the time, at least we can take comfort in a hot plate of mac ‘n’ cheese or chocolate chip cookies, right? 

Seriously, though, we’re all grateful for the people working tirelessly to make sure everyone has food to eat — not only the grocery store employees putting in extra hours and risking their own health, but also the restaurants and quick-service eateries remaining open for takeout and delivery.

If you operate a food business, this is truly your time to shine on social media. As you’re making, serving and delivering delicious meals, you can also be delivering messages of positivity and hope as you grow your business even in these challenging times. This article, the third in a four-part series exploring how businesses can pivot right now, will help you highlight the great work you’re doing as a restaurateur during the COVID-19 crisis.

Key Takeaways:

  1. If your business is still open, you need to communicate with your customers about what to expect when ordering from you — from your hours of operation to the safety precautions you’re taking.
  2. Customers aren’t just craving your food; they’re craving mouth-watering posts that tell them about your deals, free delivery and family specials. Feature your employees and customers for a hyper-local feel.
  3. Now is the time to be creative rather than letting COVID-19 limit your thinking. You can partner with local businesses digitally on social media, or host live happy hours and food pairings to create greater connection with your audience.

But First, Some Housekeeping

By now, you’ve had to make some tough decisions about closing your doors to dine-in patrons. You’re either closed altogether — in which case you should still keep up with your social media marketing if you hope to reopen — or you’re staying open for pickup and delivery. 

It’s critical that you let your customers know what’s happening so they know what to expect. For starters, make sure you’ve communicated your hours of operation. You can do this in a couple of different ways: 

  1. Post about it on your social media pages to tell customers when you’re open and make it clear you’re offering only pickup or delivery. Many businesses are offering free delivery right now, either directly from their restaurant or through third-party delivery apps.
  2. You should also update your hours anywhere your business is listed online. Rallio has a Business Listings feature that will let you quickly update your hours across the web — a real time-saver, especially considering Google My Business has limited functionality currently due to COVID-19-related staff shortages at Google. 

And Now for the Fun Stuff

Aside from posting about your hours, you can have a lot of fun with your social media. Here are just a few ideas of what you can post.

  • Obviously, at a restaurant, it’s all about the food. Snap photos of your mouth-watering creations! Include the chef in your posts — maybe shoot a video of him describing what ingredients he used. You can also include your employees: Take photos of them with their favorite dishes! Or share any photos your customers have posted with their favorite meals.
  • Take advantage of trending hashtags like #TakeoutTuesday and #TheGreatAmericanTakeout. Invite your customers to support local business by ordering takeout from you instead of crowding into grocery stores. Ask them to upload photos of their dishes with the hashtag — you could even turn it into a contest by selecting a random winner of a gift card to your location.

  • What kind of safety precautions are you taking in light of COVID-19? Tell your customers about your cleaning and food preparation protocols. Let them know all your options for pickup and delivery.
  • With customers’ permission and proper social distancing, you can snap photos of customers as they pick up their food. Tell them “thank you” for supporting your business!
  • Don’t forget about reviews — both asking for them and posting them on your social media! As we wrote in this article about online reviews, it’s critical that you have current reviews posted, not reviews from several months ago. Customers want to know what to expect from your business today, and your reviews give them the confidence they need to place an order. With GMB not posting new reviews currently, you may have to take other measures, like directing customers to other review platforms. You can also use our Revv app to send out surveys and gather positive feedback right after a sale.
  • Now is the perfect time to lean into family-friendly options that bring households together. All-in-one meal kits and take-and-bake meals with instructions give families something to do together as they’re sheltering at home. Snap photos of your meal kits and caption them with what’s included, prices and why families will love eating these dishes together. For instance, Rubio’s posted a fun video of their Family Taco Kit featuring Ralph Rubio’s tips on washing hands and assembling meals — as well as what he’s binge-watching right now!


  • Are you giving back to healthcare workers, police, families in need, any other people in your community? Maybe you supply lunch once or twice a week and post all your photos of these special deliveries.
  • How about a live happy hour on Facebook or Zoom where you walk your patrons through a meal and how to pair it with a good wine or beer? Make menu recommendations for all the different people who might be in a household, from little kids who eat nothing but chicken nuggets to adults wanting a gourmet experience at home. Create opportunities for live interaction in a time when people are eager for human connection more than ever before.
  • Could you partner with other businesses for giveaways and promotions? In another post, Rubio’s gave fans a chance to win a yearlong Disney+ subscription in exchange for follows, likes and tagging friends. It doesn’t have to be a big business like Disney, either. You could partner with local businesses, tag each other in content, and help support each other and extend your reach even further.

Read more: Social Media Marketing, the Quarantine Edition: How to Pivot When Times Get Tough

Tap Into the Power of Social Media

As you’re taking care of social distancing, Rallio is here to take care of your social media engagement — with no initial fees. We have many different solutions for all types of businesses to help them navigate the COVID-19 crisis with greater ease.

  • Rallio Dashboard — Our social media management tool was built specifically for franchises and multi-unit businesses. It lets you control your brand’s social and review pages from one simple spot, as well as syndicate content to different types of franchisees and set permissions. 
  • Rallio Local — Technology is great, but humans are better. Rallio Local combines the power of the Rallio technology with the creativity of real people. Receive weekly custom, local content, custom responses to your online reviews, social ad campaigns and community management. We pair you with a Social Strategist to deliver hyper-local content that gets seen by your audience through fully managed ad campaigns.
  • Rallio Activate — Leverage the power of your employees to reach customers like never before. Incentivize them with rewards programs that you create, and collect assets into your brands image library. Have them submit their own photos and videos to earn points, and publish your brand-approved content on their personal profiles. 

To get started, fill out our online form or reach out to Let’s keep you growing even as we navigate the current challenges.

This article is the third in a four-part series exploring ways to respond to changing times, digitize your business and blow up your social media presence. Watch for our future vertical-specific articles to learn how to adapt for the current economy.

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