Instagram partners with LA’s ChowNow to make food pics and stories shoppable

Instagram is partnering with the Los Angeles-based restaurant ordering platform ChowNow to make pictures and stories from local restaurants shoppable by adding “Order Food” buttons and stickers to their images and videos.

The buttons and stickers will link directly to ChowNow to complete order flow, the companies said. Followers can also re-share stickers on their own Instagram Stories to drive awareness.

Local restaurants have been hit especially hard by the forced economic shutdown and social distancing measures imposed by state and local governments to contain the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic.

“During this unprecedented pandemic, ChowNow has mobilized all its resources to help local restaurants survive and ultimately thrive, launching new products and services in record time,” said Chris Webb, ChowNow’s CEO and co-founder in a statement. “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.”

Food pics and videos are among the most widely shared posts on Instagram and the new feature will allow users to immediately order the dishes they see.

It’s a great marketing tool for restaurants, says Webb, and an easy way for them to inform their customers that they are open for business — even if they may not have open tables.

“We’ve had to quickly pivot to delivery and takeout only, and this has been a huge challenge for independent restaurants across the country. With ChowNow seamlessly linking to our Instagram accounts — and not charging any commissions on orders — we’re able to promote all the new things we’re offering while ensuring that more dollars go directly back to our restaurants and beloved staff,” said Jeremy Fox, Chef/Owner of Birdie G’s and Tallula’s in Los Angeles. 

The partnership with Instagram developed over the last two or three weeks, says Webb.

“One of the most critical things for a restaurant is to engage their customer base and let them know that they’re able to order food… and the number one channel restaurants are using to do that is Instagram,” says Webb. “It’s much easier to go on Instagram and post a photo of food and prompt people to go to the website.”

Anyone looking to order food from local restaurants they follow just has to click on a button or a sticker in a story. That will take a user to the ChowNow ordering system and customers can pay using ChowNow’s integration with Stripe.

ChowNow’s system doesn’t take a commission, but the company charges between $99 and $149 per month for its ordering and payment toolkit. ChowNow takes care of the payments and delivery through partnerships with companies like DoorDash and local delivery services like Jolt Delivery in Los Angeles.