You Can Now Sell Food On Instagram & It's Commission Free

Your consumer is scrolling through Instagram Stories, they see a picture of your yummy food & quickly think "wow, that looks so good, I wish I could just press a button and eat this right away". In a pre-COVID world, that would be an impossible wish. Today? Instagram is making it happen! Restaurants, bakery shops, and any other food-related business can now add an "order now" button to their Instagram Stories posts, allowing customers to instantly order food from you, straight from the Instagram app. And here's the best part about it: it's commission-free; meaning Instagram does not take a cut out of the sale! This new feature is meant to drive more sales for small business owners who were affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic. This is one of the many updates Instagram is adding to their app, in order to aid businesses who are now relying on the platform to make a living!

“Small businesses are the backbone of local communities and restaurants are the soul of neighborhoods,” says Instagram COO Justin Osofsky. “They bring people together and build community. We want to do our part in helping them stay open, keep in touch with customers, and be informed on how to navigate this crisis.”

Picture by @skyemcalpine on Instagram

To make this happen, Instagram partnered with a food ordering platform called ChowNow who is known for building customized online ordering systems for restaurants. “This Instagram feature is yet another valuable tool we’re offering our restaurant partners — at no cost to the restaurants — to help them drive more revenue and boost order volume without suffering the outrageous commissions and fees imposed by other delivery apps,” Chris Webb, ChowNow CEO, said in a statement. 

How to sell your food on Instagram:

If you're a restaurant owner, you can now take orders via your Instagram business account in two ways—through an “Order Food” button on your profile, as well as through a "button sticker" in Instagram Stories. Your followers will then be able to immediately order the dishes they see in your Instagram posts. Here's how to get your food business all set-up to sell on the platform:

1. Make sure you have a business Instagram account

To be able to access all the "business features" that Instagram has to offer, your account has to be a "business" account. You can quickly switch your Instagram from a "personal" to a "business" under your settings page. Click here for further directions on how to do so.

2. Become a ChowNow Client

Before you can unlock your "order now" features, you must first become a ChowNow client. To do so, contact ChowNow to book a live demo. This is how you equest to become a client. ChowNow is the only commission-free Instagram partner, which means Instagram is not charging commission fees for this feature, you will only have to pay to be a ChowNow client.

3. Find your ChowNow ordering link. 

After you've become a ChowNow client, a ChowNow ordering link is created for you. To find this link, log into the ChowNow website, and go to your ChowNow Dashboard. [Side note: If you have multiple locations on ChowNow and want to link to all of them through a single Instagram account, make sure you’re viewing your headquarters page (rather than a single location page) within the Dashboard]

Next, select the “Integration” tab on the left side of the screen, and find the area labeled “Linking to ChowNow Ordering from Your Website.” There, you’ll see a section that identifies your restaurant’s Instagram-specific online ordering link, like this:

Next, you’ll just need to copy and paste your Instagram-specific link into Instagram in the following step:

4. Set up your purchase options within your Instagram profile.

Go back to your Instagram account and select your “Edit Profile” button. There, you’ll see a label entitled “Purchase Options” within the “Public Business Information” section. 

Within Purchase Options, locate the “Delivery Service” section. (If you only offer pickup, don’t worry; "Delivery” is just the section label, and this feature will still work perfectly for pickup orders.)

Next, hit “Set up.” Then, you’ll see a list of providers, including ChowNow. Select ChowNow and hit “Next” at the top right of the screen. Finally, paste in your ChowNow ordering link and hit “Done.” (Note that you can only choose one food ordering partner. We recommend that you select ChowNow, since all of your orders will be commission-free.)

VOILA! Just like that, your restaurant will be all set up to start selling food through your Instagram page. But now the following question is... how do you promote your Instagram food ordering so people *actually* order food from you?

Promoting your Instagram food ordering

Promoting your food ordering on Instagram Stories:

Since the app has released a special "order now" Instagram stories stickers for restaurants to use, make the most of it. Create a Story draft as you normally would with an enticing food photo. Next, select the sticker icon on the top of the screen. Within all of the stickers available to add to your Story, you’ll see an option for promoting your food ordering. Select it, and set up your food ordering sticker by choosing ChowNow and adding your ChowNow online ordering link. Here's what it would look like:

Once you post your Story, you can add it to your highlights by following the instructions here. A neat addition is that your followers can also share your story to *their* Instagram stories as well, which allows their audience to easily order takeout food from you, too. (This would also be a clever time to partner with ambassadors so they can share your "order now" button to their audience).

Promoting your food ordering on a regular Instagram post:

Even though you can't attach an "order now" button to a regular Instagram post (yet), you can still create a post that directs your customers to visit your profile or stories to click your "order now" button for their takeout delivery. Take a photo of your food, an artsy shot of your menu, or a picture of employees, and add a caption with a clear call to action telling your followers how they can order. Here are a few caption ideas to get your ideas flowing:

  • You can now order takeout straight from Instagram! Go to our profile to get your favorite dishes delivered.

  • Your support sustains our restaurant. Order takeout from us today so we can keep making the food you love. Just use the “Order Food” button on our profile!

  • Order pickup from us today! Go to our profile and just hit the “Order Food” button!

  • In the mood for pasta? Head to our profile and use the “Order Food” button now! 

If you need assistance setting up an "order now" button for your business on Instagram, schedule a demo with ChowNow and they'll help you get started or contact our Tech Support team and we'll be happy to help you out!

In the meantime, make sure your business is taking advantage of all the features that Instagram and other social media platforms are creating to help small businesses succeed during this time of rapid economic & market change. iI you need help restructuring your content and figuring out the best social media practices for small businesses during COVID-19, click here to read this free article.


Author: Sabrina Araújo Chamberlain


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