Latest News

Instagram best practice tips for mobile catering vans UK - Making stomachs rumble and mouths water

There are few better combinations in the social media world than food and Instagram. And when we mean food, we mean gorgeous, stunning pictures of food that make stomachs rumble and mouths water!

As the most visual of the social media platforms, Instagram is undoubtedly one of the best ways to showcase everything your mobile catering van has to offer. 

Perhaps it’s your first time behind the counter, or you’ve just installed a burger grill and want to shout about your great new menu. Or maybe you’ve spent the last year depending on word of mouth and want to expand. Whatever your reason, Instagram is worth your time.

To help you out, the team at Mobilers has put together these handy Instagram tips for mobile catering business.

But remember, all mobile catering vans need reliable catering van insurance to protect your hard work and safeguard your catering vehicle and livelihood from mishaps.

Mobilers has been finding business owners the best cover for the best price for over 20 years. So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call.

Food photography

Why is Instagram so important for mobile catering?

As one of the main hangouts for modern photo-obsessed foodies, Instagram is an obvious way for your business to engage with customers, a new target audience and advertise your food. From posting pics of customers ordering your latest and tastiest dishes to arty behind-the-scenes shots of your stylish van there’s plenty of opportunities to share.

Also, because Instagram gives users the ability to easily add location information to shots, it’s the perfect way to drum up local, loyal business. Indeed, social media, and Instagram in particular, could make or break your mobile catering business. Ignore it at your peril, your competitors certainly won’t!

Top tips for Instagram best practice

Sign up for the right account

Many of us already have a personal Instagram account we use to share our latest pics with family and friends. But this isn’t the type of account you’ll want for business purposes. If you plan on managing and posting content on behalf of your business, you’ll need an Instagram business account.

Setting one up is easy with Instagram’s own step-by-step guide. This will give you some important benefits including:

  • Access to Instagram Insights lets you measure how many people are viewing, engaging, and commenting on your posts.
  • Third-party scheduling tools help you plan and schedule your content well in advance. Vital when you’re trying to run a busy mobile catering business.
  • A contact button so customers can call or email you or see a map of your location. If they can’t find you quickly and easily, they could head elsewhere.
  • The ability to share business ads and promoted posts.

Keep it updated

Setting up your profile is only the first step in the Instagram journey. You’ll only get out of Instagram what you put in. So, make sure you have the time to keep up with posting new content.

If you don’t, do you have an Instagram-savvy employee, friend, or family member who’s happy to keep the content ticking over? 

To have a successful presence on Instagram you need to be posting an average of two to three times a week. We live in fast-paced times where customers are used to ever-changing content.

If you want to stay at the front of your customers’ minds when it comes to mealtimes you’ll need to stay fresh and exciting – just like your food!

Don’t post too often

That said, it is possible to overindulge. A couple of regular posts a day is great, but six or seven times and your followers may decide they’ve had enough!

Make food that’s Insta-perfect

We all know that good food presentation is a key part of a successful food business. After all, customers want their grub to look, as well as taste, wonderful! This is particularly important when we come to the image-focused world of social media.

Every time you prepare or serve up food, imagine that it’s being uploaded to Instagram. Does it look appetising? Is the counter tidy? Does the mobile catering van look clean and high class?

Don’t forget your van

There are some great looking mobile catering vans on the market and it’s a shame not to make the most of them on your Instagram feed. Remember, it’s not just about the food, it’s about the whole atmosphere. If your van looks like the kind of place people want to eat, then make the best of it.

Think about all the best bits of your van – do you have any unique selling points? Perhaps you’re in a convenient city centre location or tucked away in the perfect countryside spot.

Or perhaps you’ve just invested in a brand-new pizza oven or barbeque grill. There are loads of foodies out there who just love pictures of shiny new kitchen equipment or vintage trucks. If you’ve got it, flaunt it!

Try Instagram Stories

A great way to interact with followers is to use Instagram Stories. Here you post videos or eye catching images for your followers to engage with, but which disappear after 24 hours. Why not try it out today?

Get instant feedback about adding a new special to your menu. Or perhaps a poll on their favourite item? Pineapple on a pizza? Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Use trending #hashtags

Just like other social platforms, adding a hashtag to photos will let other active users discover your profile and your food! To get started, try using the search function to discover which hashtags are currently trending or most often used by similar businesses. Online marketing methods can be the most efficient for a new business looking to grow their customer base.

Event, location, or food types are all good ideas to get started with. Have fun and be creative, people love a clever take on a hot topic. #TacoTuesday anyone?

Take the time to get that Insta-ready photo

Don’t just post any old pic, keep those for your personal Facebook! Instead, think high value/low volume.

Really take the time to think about the shots you’re posting. Are they beautiful? Are they funny? If they’re neither then you might want to think again.

From playing with your phone’s camera settings and Instagram’s filters to working on your composition and perspective.

There are plenty of top tips for taking great Instagram photos that stand out from the crowd. And if you’re including customers in your shots, always get their permission first.

Add video to drive engagement

There are lots of opportunities to use video on Instagram. From short clips on Reels to long format pieces on IGTV, there’s something for everyone.

How about some live action shots of you cooking up a storm in a wild location? Or some food prep tips that customers could try at home? Hootsuite has some great advice on creating engaging video content for Instagram.

Don’t forget your website

Just like a traditional, bricks and mortar business, you should never underestimate the usefulness of a well-maintained business website. In fact, as a mobile caterer your company' website is perhaps even more important.

Use it to display glowing customer reviews and provide key information such as opening hours, locations, prices, and menus. If you’re available for private hire, then make it clear here.

Man on his phone

Inspiration for Instagram posts

It’s your Instagram account so it’s entirely up to you what you post. You’ll probably already have lots of great ideas but, if you’re stuck, here are a few topics we recommend.

  • Van updates – Is your van rocking a new paint job? Have you installed a new coffee machine for your mobile coffee business? Share that van news far and wide! Particularly if it puts you ahead of the local competition. But when you put so much effort into your van, be sure to protect it with catering van insurance.
  • Event information – Are you and your van appearing at any cool events or foodie festivals? Your loyal customers will want to know, and so will any new ones.
  • Schedules – Because you’re a restaurant on wheels, you’ve got a great opportunity to explore new locations every day. But this can make it tricky for regular customers to know where to find you. Always share your daily schedule in plenty of time. And if there are any last-minute changes – after all, you don’t want unhappy customers!
  • Behind-the-scenes content – Many people love knowing what’s going on behind the scenes at their favourite food trucks. Share some content to give a fuller idea of your business or brand.
  • People photos – If you’ve got their permission then pictures of satisfied customers will always have people queuing up for more.
  • Customer photos – Encourage customers to share their own pictures and videos enjoying your food and ask them to tag your van in any posts. You can then see these and reshare the best ones.
  • Brand building – There are lots of opportunities for you to post short articles or fun pieces that build on your brand personality.
  • Today’s menu – Your daily menu and any specials are always useful for your fans to know beforehand. After all anticipation is half of the fun when it comes to food, any foodies just love getting excited about their next meal!
  • Community events – The best mobile food vans are very community-focused. So a good idea is to keep customers posted on any local events and community activity. Remember, the more you become part of the community, the stronger your food business will be.
  • Charity partnerships and sustainability – As a catering business you may well have an opportunity to get involved in charity events. This is always worth talking about on Instagram. Food is also a big issue when it comes to sustainability. If there are efforts you’re making to ensure your food is sustainable – perhaps you source locally, or your packaging is recycled – then it’s worth publicising these.
  • Highlight key dates – From Valentine’s Day and Easter to Halloween and Christmas, there are plenty of key national dates you can use to provide inspiration for your Instagram content. Hashtags are great for this. Depending on the food you serve how about #IOnlyHaveFriesForYou, #IHaveFillingsForYou or #MadePhoEachOther for Valentine’s Day?
  • Food Photos – Obviously.
  • New dishes – New and exciting additions to the menu are a great way to show you’re innovating. Particularly if they’re a reaction to customer requests. What a great way to get buy-in from a customer than to see their idea taken on board! Why not try out selling ice cream as a new item on your menu? We have more tips on how to do this best!
  • Promotions and contests – We all love a good competition! Why not host a contest or run a special deal through your Instagram account? Anything to get people talking!
  • Take a poll – Interaction is one of the most important ways to drive more engagement and an easy way to do this is through a poll. But remember to enable your push notifications so you know when someone has cast their vote.

How to engage with customers on Instagram

If a customer contacts you but you fail to respond appropriately it can really damage your business. Here are a few ways you can engage with your foodie Instagram followers.

  1. Reply to all comments – Every customer comment should get a response from you. If someone has made the effort to say how much they enjoyed your food, then be sure to at least reply with a thumbs up!
  2. Say thanks – If someone tags your business in a photo or gives you a shout out then make sure to say thanks. It’s easy to do and makes a big difference.
  3. Encourage interaction – Mobile catering is all about communicating and building relationships with customers. If you show you value customer opinions, it will help build loyalty. And loyal customers are the ones who’ll be recommending you the next time someone says, ‘Where’s good to eat around here?’

Protect your business with catering van insurance from Mobilers

Running a mobile catering business is a tough job, so it’s essential you get the right level of insurance for your catering van. How else are you going to safeguard your business and your livelihood from the unexpected?

At Mobilers our helpful team can arrange catering van insurance for a host of different catering vehicles. Cover can also include fixtures and fittings, which can sometimes exceed the cost of the vehicle itself.

Get a quick quote for catering van insurance today.

Frequently asked questions

How can I take good pictures of my food for Instagram?

Taking good photos of your food for Instagram can elevate your social media game to the next level. The first step is ensuring you have good lighting. Natural light works best, so try to capture your food near a window during the day.

Next, pay attention to the composition of your picture. Use the rule of thirds to arrange your food, utensils, and other elements in an appealing way. Don't forget about the background, a clean and non-distracting backdrop helps your food stand out. Experiment with different angles, not all foods look their best from above.

How do I deal with negative reviews of my mobile catering van?

Navigating the world of negative reviews can be daunting, especially when it comes to your mobile food business. However, it's important to remember that feedback, both positive and negative, is a valuable resource for growth.

Instead of seeing negative reviews as a setback, view them as opportunities for improvement. Take the time to read and understand what your customers are saying. Respond to them professionally and politely, showing that you value their feedback. Use their complaints as a road map to make necessary changes in your business.

How can I improve my videos for my mobile catering van?

Mastering the art of creating engaging videos for your mobile food business can truly transform your catering van into a culinary hotspot. Start by ensuring you have good lighting. Natural light is best, but if that's not possible, consider investing in a ring light. Next, focus on the food - close-ups of fresh ingredients or a sizzling grill can make mouths water.

Don't forget the power of storytelling. Share the journey of your dishes, from preparation to serving. Lastly, keep your videos short and sweet - aim for about 60 seconds.

How often should I update my website for my mobile catering van?

Running a mobile food business is exciting, but it also requires constant engagement to keep customers coming back for more. Updating your website should be a regular part of your routine. Aim to revise your site at least once a month, or more if there are frequent changes to your menu, location or hours of operation.

Regular updates not only help keep your customers informed about what's new, but it also improves your site's visibility on search engines. Remember, an outdated website might lead customers to think your business is no longer operating.

Share this on: