Snapchat Is a Waste of Your Time and Here’s Why

Here’s the best advice you’ll ever get about using Snapchat to market your restaurant; Don’t waste your time.

Snapchat is an excellent, beautiful and very fun social network to use. It has a great audience. It’s very visual, it’s great for creativity and it is most certainly the talk of the town right now. With more than 150 million users (more than Twitter), it totally makes sense why restaurants would think about using it for a marketing channel.

It’s still not worth your efforts.


It’s a content channel that’s very difficult to manage with a sizable learning curve. More importantly, effective use of Snapchat requires constant and consistent creative content. Even if you were a content production machine, and let’s face it, you aren’t, there is also no native way to track activity or engagement beyond views or comments.
If you’re a restaurant, bar or other hospitality business this means you can’t drive reservations, ticketing, coupon downloads, email subscriptions or really any other form of trackable ROI.

Snapchat is really only a viable marketing channel that very large restaurant brands, like Taco Bell or McDonald’s, should be in the business of using. If your brand has a sizeable marketing budget and a staff big enough that you can be extremely creative, post regularly and not really have concern for trackable ROI then, it’s absolutely a creative fun and engaging tool to put in your marketing utility belt.

Still thinking about using it? At the time I wrote this blog McDonald’s, the largest restaurant brand on the social network, had not updated their channel in the past 24 hours.


Photo from Mashable.
Taco Bell only had this to offer:


If you are a small business, restaurant or bar, even with multiple locations, you’re far far far better off spending your time doing any of the following:

  • Optimizing your website for local search
  • Updating Facebook or Instagram on a daily basis
  • Responding to ratings and reviews on sites like Yelp Facebook and TripAdvisor.

Snapchat when used for bars and restaurants to give a behind-the-scenes look or to share a great customer experience, could be really engaging to users, but definitely not as useful as some of the other tools designed specifically to help market in the restaurant business. When you have one or two locations, a small menu or a small staff, it’s hard to be consistently creative without just repeating the same type of material.

The other thing to keep in mind about Snapchat is that the content that you create disappears within 24 hours. For a restaurant to be searchable with good SEO practices, you’re going to want to leave a much larger footprint online. When someone searches “best Burger near me,” Snaps are going to do absolutely nothing to help you.

It would be better use of your time to post delicious photos of your food on your Google My Business or Yelp page than it ever would be to ever post an expiring video on Snapchat.

If you absolutely love the format of Snapchat videos, instead I suggest you check out Instagram stories. It operates inside the Instagram experience of your brand page, looks and feels like Snapchat and can be used to enhance the content you are already posting on a regular basis on the social network.

You are posting content on a regular basis to your Instagram account … right?

Call him Sponge Bob ? #imready @seth_thornbloom

A video posted by S’macks Burgers & Shakes (@smacksburgers) on


  • In the life of a busy restaurant operator or marketing person, Snapchat has no clickable actions that can help you to drive actions. Better to spend your time responding to ratings and review sites or updating Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis.

Now go eat a Burger and think about it.

Schiller’s Liquor Bar
131 Rivington St
New York, NY 10002



Schiller’s Juicy Lucy Burger – stuffed with muenster cheese, then topped with red wine onion-bacon jam and Schiller’s Special Sauce, served on a seeded Balthazar Bun. Paired with Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This has nothing to do with Snapchat, but you can register to win this Burger pairing and others like it by visiting the Somms and Sliders website.

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