Vibe Conference: How to Reach Consumers on Social Media

Vibe tackled the topic of marketing at this year’s conference with a workshop on February 28 titled, “Reaching Consumers in 2023: A Market of One.” Panelists discussed what’s working in today’s complicated marketing environment, how operators can distinguish themselves, how to engage influencers, how to generate appealing messaging, and more.

Participants included:


  • Cami Lehmann, Director of Marketing, Brinker International


  • Elisa Cordova, Sr. Beverage Marketing Manager, P.F. Chang's China Bistro Inc.
  • Wendy Nyberg, VP On-Premise Marketing, Trinchero Family Estates
  • Melissa Salbert, Director, Brand Marketing, Hooters of America

All of the session speakers agreed on the importance of social media in promoting your bar/restaurant, and they offered a variety of case studies and tips for creating the most effective marketing campaigns online.

Before we dive into specific examples, let’s take a look at a few general strategies to implement in your social media marketing:

  • Videos are more engaging than static photos for consumer audiences.
  • Consumers want reality versus beauty in posts—watching someone eat or seeing a picture of someone with a plate of food will always outperform any other type of post.
  • Pair food and beverage in marketing to gain greater engagement on your posts and the opportunity to upsell thanks to the craveability of food. It helps especially to pair drinks with food items you’re looking to move.
  • Merch is in, and bars/restaurants should promote their branded wares on social media.
  • SEO is still important—know what keywords customers are searching for.
  • Make sure you’re measuring the engagement and reach of your messaging. Is it actually helping to drive people into your establishment?

Inviting Influencers

NIL marketing stands for name, image, and likeness, and promoting your brand through a celebrity or influencer with a strong recognition or following has proven successful for many restaurants and bars. If an establishment is planning to work with influencers, Trinchero Family Estates recommends working with mid-level and not high-end influencers.  Mid-level influencers come across as more authentic, which is important with a savvy consumer base that sees right through fake or put-on marketing messages.  

Recently, the NCAA implemented a policy allowing college athletes to make money off their NIL. Hooters has started working with college football players in local markets to promote area restaurants through short video ads and social posts.


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Hooters has also found success in marketing to a younger generation of NASCAR fans by partnering with the influencers Garage Guys on platforms like TikTok.


The Guys and @hooters are back together again for 2023 🦉 Check out our exclusive Hooters deals 💰 *offers valid at select locations only* #ad #nascar #nascartiktok #nascarmemes #chaseelliott #fyp

♬ HOTEL LOBBY (Unc & Phew) - Quavo & Takeoff

Eat Me, Drink Me

Speaking of TikTok, videos of people eating and drinking food are super popular on the platform. So P.F. Chang’s has worked with influencers and asked them to film themselves eating and trying the restaurant’s food for a series, “Trying everything on the P.F. Chang’s menu.” The tactic has been a success as the videos have gotten over 1 million views.

Beyond influencers, securing customer testimonials are the best form of advertising on social media as these come across as more genuine. Trinchero Family Estates gave the example of consumer-created videos gushing about Sutter Home’s Sweet Tea wines.

Partner Up

Bars/restaurants should also lean on their suppliers for marketing help. Supplier partners can provide ideas for promotion and may even have assets already made that a bar/restaurant can start promoting immediately.

Also don’t be afraid to partner with or feature specific brands and products in your messaging. These brands typically have large followings themselves, and they may like the post or comment on it if you tag them in it—giving you greater exposure.


Plan to Attend or Participate in Bar & Restaurant Expo, March 27-29, 2023

To learn about the latest trends, issues and hot topics, and to experience and taste the best products within the bar, restaurant and hospitality industry, plan to attend Bar & Restaurant Expo, March 27-29, 2023 in Las Vegas. Visit

To book your sponsorship or exhibit space at Bar & Restaurant Expo, contact:

Veronica Gonnello ​(for companies A to G)​ e: [email protected]​ p: 212-895-8244

​Tim Schultz​ (for companies H to Q) ​e: [email protected]​ p: 917-258-8589

Fadi Alsayegh ​(for companies R to Z)​ e: [email protected] p: 917-258-5174​

Also, be sure to follow Bar & Restaurant on Facebook and Instagram for all the latest industry news and trends.