Teahouses & Tea Cafés: Serve up a Strong Online Presence and Customer Loyalty by Maximizing Social Media

Business owners face constantly increasing competition, and it’s getting more difficult to distinguish themselves from the crowd and maintain customer loyalty. The hill is even harder for tea café owners to climb. They typically have fewer operating hours than restaurants do, and their customer base can be more demanding given the amount of other options they have.

BentoBox data found that a strong social media presence creates and sustains customer interest in restaurants and cafés overall, and this includes teahouses, tea cafes and tea shops. And, as the number of social media platforms continues to grow, brands are feeling pressure to have a presence on them all. However, a thoughtful social strategy is key to cultivating an attractive brand image without getting lost in the shuffle.

Indeed, businesses in the foodservice industry are often strapped for time and resources, and running dozens of social media pages is definitely not the best use of their time. Most recently, thousands of companies preemptively built Threads, Meta’s new iteration of X (formerly known as Twitter), into their brand strategies. Meanwhile, Threads lost more than half of its user base within weeks of its launch. Cafés can avoid dedicating their resources to social media strategies that don’t make an impact if they’re thoughtful about the platforms they use to cultivate their brands.

How Can Tea Cafés Decide on a Platform?

It’s crucial to begin the decision-making process with research, observing how other brands or competitors are utilizing platforms and, more importantly, taking note of their key demographics.In order to maximize their social media’s impact, café-owners should consider who their intended audiences are and which platforms they spend the most time on. Then, ask the following questions: What are the best formats for sharing your brand’s story with your audience? Are videos, photos or short posts most beneficial to your brand?

Remember, content that succeeds on Instagram will not always succeed on Twitter (X) or Facebook. Finally, and maybe most importantly, cafés need to decide how much of their resources to dedicate toward managing social media.

These guidelines should streamline decision-making, ensuring that cafés know what it takes to run a page on each platform, where their content can thrive and if they have available resources to dedicate.

Use Cases for the Top Five Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms are a space for businesses in the foodservice industry to entice customers with sumptuous photos, informative language and a sense of community. Below are some key examples of cafés and restaurants that have cracked the code using today’s top social media platforms.


For businesses that thrive on the visual appeal of their beverages and food, Instagram is the place to start. It is driven by photos and videos, and its demographic loves the personality of its brands. Gong cha used Instagram to leverage the Barbie and Oppenheimer craze. The tea franchise attracted customers by posting bright images of two drinks that represented the viewers of each film.

For the "Barbie Purist," they highlighted the Strawberry Taro, describing it as a “gorgeous drink worthy of the original girly pop.” For the "Oppenheimer Goer," they showed off their Dirty Brown Sugar Milk Tea, which they described as a “sweet, explosive drink for the cinephile.” They highlighted a Strawberry Oreo Smoothie with “Barbie on the bottom, rubble on the top” for anyone doing a double feature.


Ggiata, a Los Angeles deli whose menu highlights coffee and fresh-baked cookies, boasts a youthful marketing crew that favors TikTok. This platform is reliant on video and is helpful for brands that want to be more playful or humorous with their content.

Ggiata collaborates with front and back-of-house personnel to craft lighthearted, on-brand and trendy content – offering an everyday glimpse into the team driving their brand.


As for good ole' Facebook, it’s great for local cafés with an older clientele. Facebook helps these businesses foster local communities by posting photos of regulars, special events or themed menus.

Manny's, a family-operated deli in Chicago, shares images of their patrons, gatherings, and vital updates exclusively through Facebook, fostering an ongoing exchange with the community they have nurtured for over seven decades. Facebook serves as the optimal platform to draw in their clientele for a steaming cup of coffee and a warm meal.


For cafés looking for a quick way to get information to interested customers, Twitter (now X) is the platform to be on. It’s most helpful to speedily socialize special events and announcements, especially for brands with multiple locations. It's also an excellent platform for businesses with an active Twitter audience whose posts they can reshare.

Saxby's used Twitter to promote their partnership with Mount Saint Mary's University, where they opened a student-run café in the school's newly renovated Knott Academic Center. The chain paired their café opening with images of students working at the location to earn both college credits and a competitive salary. Saxby’s also gets extra visibility from the university and its students promoting the partnership through reposts.


While Threads is in its infancy, brands are already diving in headfirst to explore its possibilities. Global superbrand Starbucks has most recently been running its "Summer Wins-Days" program on Threads, giving customers 50 percent off drinks after 12 pm on Wednesdays.

In sum, social media platforms can be leveraged to appeal to key demographics. Teahouses, tea cafés and tea shops do not need to prioritize being on all social media. Instead, they should invest their limited resources into platforms that will give them the most return – driving revenue, customer engagement and loyalty in the process.

Emily Schultz is the senior brand manager at BentoBox, in the food and beverage space. Previous to BentoBox, Schultz was the social media manager at Bon Appetit Magazine. The BentoBox Marketing & Commerce Platform delivers a seamless guest experience dedicated to accelerating growth and helping cafés and restaurants thrive. BentoBox empowers modern restaurants and cafés to build their online presence, diversify revenue, engage with customers, and increase operational efficiency. To do so, the platform includes products such as websites, ordering (online ordering, pre-order and catering, gift cards, merchandise, tickets), events management, reservations and marketing tools. More than 14,000 restaurant and café concepts worldwide rely on BentoBox as their digital front door. To learn more about BentoBox, visit GetBento.com.

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