Updated: Apr 7
When it comes to engaging and shareable content, video is second to none. Whether you plan on creating consistent content for your social media channels, or just want to make a great impression on the landing page of your website, video is a great option.
The restaurant industry is fertile ground for creating engaging content. After all, what's more visually appealing and emotive than an incredible plate of food?
As we'll discover in this blog, there are plenty of angles you can take when creating videos for your restaurant. Above all, it's essential to produce content that is relevant to your customer's needs. In today's post, we'll:
Talk about the benefits of video content in general.
Ask ourselves what your customers' needs are and how you can fulfill them through your video.
Assess how best to convey your USPs in video form
Cover the most important places to post your video
Take a look at some examples of restaurant video marketing.
Summarize with some tips and reminders for best practices.
What is video marketing, and how can it help your restaurant?
Video marketing refers to any use of video to promote your brand, whether that's on your website, on social media, through paid ads on the internet, or advertising on broadcast television.
Video marketing is used in all industries. Let's explore why video is a popular way for restaurants to build their brand, and connect with their customers:
Video content is more shareable
Forbes reports that video content is shared 1,200% more than text and links... combined! It's no wonder then that video is deemed to be the most powerful online advertising tool for businesses of all sizes.
Video content is more memorable
People absorb and retain information from video content more deeply than with written or audio content—great news when you want your brand to adhere to people's minds.
An international study that surveyed over 375 000 people found that 84% of people expect brands to create content. Customer engagement online is now firmly established as a vital part of any marketing strategy. You've got to reach people where they are with content that they genuinely want. Video is a way to concisely deliver a lot of information while keeping your audience engaged.
How to use video to promote your restaurant effectively
Understand what type of content your customers desire
So, we've established that video content is an excellent tool for online marketing. However, you've got to ensure that you're offering your customers what they crave or need. To be effective, you've got to put in the effort to research your customer base, and fully understand how your brand can meet their needs.
According to Marketing Week, "60% of content created by brands is just clutter". That's a real sign that people aren't making an effort to understand their consumers.
The article also revealed that too many brands are concerned with entertaining their audience, and forget that their videos should have a specific purpose. Quoting Havas' Global Chief Insights Officer, Maria Garrido, the article reads:
"Brands get rose-tinted glasses about entertaining people and think that is all consumers want. [...] What brands need to do is break down their content, take a step back, and ask, for their industry, what the role of content is. Whether it is to inspire, educating, help, reward, inform or entertain, then rank them and work out what is a 'must-have,' where the opportunities are and what they should not be focusing on at all."
So what are the possible roles for restaurant video marketing? The easiest way to answer that question is to first get into your patron's mindset and think about the decision process when choosing a restaurant. What are some of the inquiries your customers will ask of you?
Questions to ask yourself to get in-tune with the customer mindset:
Answering these questions for your brand will help you deduce what kind of content will be appropriate for your audience. So we recommend writing down and reflecting on your answers.
Is your location advantageous?
Do you have fantastic views?
Are you in the heart of a vibrant city or beautiful countryside?
Are you near a popular tourist destination?
What's the look and feel of your neighborhood?
What type of food do you serve?
Do you cater for large groups or parties? What's the ambiance like?
Is it relaxed - a great place to meet with friends
Formal - ideal for a business lunch, a special occasion.
Romantic - perfect for an anniversary or a date.
Family-friendly - parents want to know they can feel comfortable bringing their kids with them.
Do you cater to people with unique dietary requirements?
Vegan or vegetarian?
Is it an independent restaurant?
There is value in being an independent, small business. The service is more personal, and there is a cachet in supporting local enterprises.
Are the cuisine and decor authentic?
What is the inspiration behind your cuisine? Do you use family recipes? Were you inspired while traveling? Is the cuisine typical to your city, your neighborhood, or your community?
Does the decor match the cuisine? Going to a restaurant is a full experience. If you've invested in your decor, you need to showcase it.
Do you have a policy for sustainability / fair trade? Do you consider food waste?
Consumers are increasingly making their purchasing decisions based on whether or not they are socially responsible. A Nielsen report on sales data revealed that "nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment."
What's the ordering process like?
Is there a table service?
Do you offer a take-out or delivery service?
Do you accept vouchers or offer group deals?
You might be able to think of a few more questions specific to your area or the type of cuisine you serve. Take a look at your list and think about what answers you think will be most attractive, or most relevant to your customers. Underline them, or highlight them. Now think about the messaging of your content. Is it to inform, inspire, educate, entertain, etc.
To help you, let's break down the list given by Maria Garrido, above, and apply some possible answers.
What's the role of your content?
There are plenty of opportunities for you to create informative video content for your customers. for example:
Create a tour of your restaurant, invite virtual customers to get a sense of the ambiance. Show your clientele, so the audience gets familiar with the vibe, for example, is the restaurant family-friendly or caters to a younger crowd. Show the chefs at work, professionally cooking food, and preparing dishes.
Interview the CEO to reveal the restaurant's roots and influences. Create value and entertainment through storytelling. People love stories and ultimately make for compelling content and better brand association. So dive into storytelling.
Interview the head chef. Talk passionately about the food.
Visit a supplier at their farm. Show the provenance of the ingredients.
Show your chefs preparing one of your most popular dishes. Show every stage so that the audience can appreciate the love and attention given to each plate.
Film the place or person who inspired your cuisine.
This category is a little more niche, but depending on your customer base, there is a real opportunity to create original, shareable content.
If you're serving a niche cuisine, talk about the culture and heritage of the food. Show your audience unusual, specially sourced ingredients and talk about their nutritional properties.
If your customer base is concerned with social responsibility, create a video that sensitively addresses the problems in the food industry, and how you're structured to be more sustainable and to take care of your workers and your supply chain.
If you offer food for special dietary needs, you could show how your kitchen is prepared to prevent cross-contamination, or share what ingredients you substitute. People with allergies or intolerances can be distrusting of restaurants, so showing the care and attention you take in preparing their food can go a long way.
It might be that your restaurant or eatery fulfills a specific need for your client. Say you're a popular lunch destination for office workers; a helpful video might explain that your offerings include take away and delivery services.
If you're positioned in a vibrant neighborhood or tourist spot, consider a video that highlights to customers what fun, cool, and exciting things they can do before or after visiting your restaurant, that way, you use your favorable surroundings as a selling tool. We have seen this first hand in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, Florida.
Think about popular cooking shows (not including Kitchen Nightmares) and take inspiration. You could host a cooking show revealing how to prepare a world-famous dish. Careful, though, we don't want to give away too many in-house proprietary secrets.
The above are just a few springboard suggestions, and it's not an exhaustive list. It's also worth noting that you can, of course, create a video with multiple roles, and which contains one or more sections. In our examples, you'll be able to see that it's common for restaurant marketing videos to fulfill multiple roles. They can be informative and inspiring.
If you're still unsure as to which style of video will showcase your restaurant best, and be of most use to your customers, it's time to assess your unique selling propositions (USPs)
How to identify your USPs and incorporate them into your video marketing
Most business owners are acutely aware of the unique benefits of their business from the very start: they write them into their business plan. This may be true for you, but the restaurant industry is subject to change, so your USPs may have evolved or shifted from when you first conceived of them.
Restauranteurs are incredible at adapting and evolving to meet new demands and changes in tastes. Neighborhoods also change: your barrio could well be unrecognizable from when you first established your restaurant, and in that case, your clientele may well have changed significantly too. You can develop another USP just by surviving: long-standing, successful restaurants have a prestige of their own that has evolved over the years.
So if it's been a while since you assessed the unique selling propositions of your restaurant, let's take a breath and consider them now. Here are some examples of USPs, and how to portray them in your video:
E.g., fun and vibrant atmosphere / local hangout/ chilled Sunday afternoon vibes remember eating out is an all-round experience. Sure, the food's got to be great, but the ambiance has to suit the occasion too. If you're after a relaxed, casual meal with your family, you're not going to choose a fine-dining restaurant where you're frightened to dirty the napkins.
The ambiance of your restaurant could be a critical deciding factor for your customers. If you think that's the case, it's important to convey it in your marketing video.
Include a few shots of your customers relaxed and enjoying the ambiance while socializing with friends, co-workers, or family. Choose music that reflects the vibe of your restaurant.
Consider highlighting your location on the marketing videos with a prominent establishing shot, especially if you offer incredible outdoor terrace / amazing rooftop views or beachside seating. The location sells that much is evident, so if you're lucky enough to be in the heart of a buzzing district, make sure it features heavily in your marketing video.
Consider, also, what time of day would be best to shoot. Maybe your views look best at sunset, perhaps the lighting on your terrace is excellent in the evening. A general rule of thumb is the golden hour (shortly after sunrise - shortly before sunset) make for beautiful shots.
Great, personal service
Don't underestimate the power of competent personnel. People want to know they'll be taken care of, and if you've built a great team of friendly and loyal staff, that can be a real draw for customers.
Include a shot of your front of house staff welcoming in the cameraman. You could include interviews with your team (servers and chefs) talking about what they love about working at your restaurant. Having seen the video, your staff will feel familiar to new customers, and they can feel relaxed knowing that they're in good hands.
If your restaurant is a popular lunchtime spot in the city, or you deliver food, speed is everything! People want their food ASAP.
Show off your efficient service by demonstrating precisely what happens when an order is placed. For example, show the server entering the details in the POS system, cut to the chef receiving the order in the kitchen and working rapidly to prepare a freshly made meal, follow the process through to the server delivering the meal back to the customer.
Serving South Beach since 1980"
If you're a long-standing establishment, congratulations! This is a great USP to have. It shows that you're trustworthy and popular enough to stand the test of time. Older establishments are now like prized jewels in gentrified areas. If you've been around since before the hipsters came to town, that gives you special status… with locals and hipsters alike!
If this is your USP, you have a fantastic opportunity to create a storytelling video. If you're a family business, get your family involved. Show old pictures of what the venue first looked like and how it's changed (or hasn't!)
If you have a loyal clientele, include their customer testimonials using "person on the street" style videos. Customer testimonials make for authoritative content. People are more likely to trust what your returning customers say over what you tell yourself.
E.g., secret ingredient / unique cooking technique /"The Most Popular Fish Tacos in Miami"/ unusual cuisine.
Of course, there's a good chance that your food itself will be your USP. Maybe one of your dishes is famous in your city or district. Focus on that one dish that everyone has to try and make a video about what makes it so unique. Interview your head chef to talk passionately about preparing it.
Do you have a secret ingredient? Colonel Sanders' "secret mix of 11 herbs and spices" are what shot KFC to success. You could create engaging videos with the "person on the street" format of customers trying to guess what your secret ingredient might be. Just don't reveal the answer!
Do you serve cuisine that's unusual in your area? Tell a story about where the food originates from, the culture, the people.
If you use an exciting or authentic cooking technique in your kitchen, make sure it appears in your video. Later in the blog, we'll take a look at South-American inspired Miami restaurant Amari at Paraiso. Their kitchen features a woodfire grill, and you can be sure it makes an appearance in their marketing video.
These are just a few examples of USPs. If you're still having trouble identifying the unique selling proposition for your restaurant, here's an exercise for you: imagine you had just ten seconds to convince someone to eat at your restaurant. What would you tell them? For example: "We serve fresh, locally sourced produce on our spectacular terrace" or "we serve great value burgers on-the-go."
The most important thing is, to be honest. Remember that scene in Elf where Will Ferrell congratulates a roadside cafe for serving the "world's best cup of coffee?" There's no point in being insincere. You have a USP; you just need to find it.
Where to post your marketing videos
The first and most obvious place to showcase your video is on your homepage or landing page. According to this infographic by Webdam, "Videos on landing pages increase conversions by 86%." Customers who come straight to your site will be greeted with a professional video showcasing the best of your business.
Whether you're planning on investing in paid advertisements, or you want to commit to a video content strategy and create a video content channel, there are plenty of statistics to suggest that YouTube is the place to do it.
People are spending way less time watching national broadcast TV, and more time on YouTube than ever before. In fact, on mobile alone, Youtube reaches more adults under 50 than any TV network (broadcast or cable.)
YouTube has over 1.9 billion monthly active users.
One billion hours of YouTube are watched every day
YouTube is the primary platform for Google video ads.
Despite the "Skip Ad" button, mobile ads on YouTube receive attention 83% of the time. In comparison, TV ads only get attention, around 45% of the time.
Since 2017, double the number of small and medium-sized businesses are advertising on YouTube.
After uploading your video to YouTube, it can then be embedded into blogs, emails, and articles.
Videos make great content for your followers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Don't forget to pin your video so that it's the first thing people see when visiting your page.
Facebook and Instagram stories are also a great way to share your video. In April of last year, it was reported that Facebook stories have 500 million daily active users, a number that has probably since increased. It's also increasingly popular with advertisers.
Filming video formatted for mobile is an excellent option to explore. If it's something you're interested in, talk to your video production agency.
History of restaurant marketing
In 1900, car tire manufacturers Édouard and André Michelin published a guide for French Motorists to inspire more people to buy cars (and therefore increase demand for their tires). The original Michelin Guide included useful and practical information for motorists such as maps, repair instructions, listings for car mechanics, hotels, petrol stations, and of course, restaurants and eateries across France. An excellent example of content marketing with a purpose!
And so, restaurants began to use Michelin Stars as a marketing tool - to distinguish them as outstanding examples of fine dining. While still in use today, Michelin Stars are now very meagrely awarded. Michelin's definition of what constitutes "good food" is critiqued for being too narrow and irrelevant, surely for most of us.
But the Michelin Guide has inspired a 21st-century trend of critiquing food and service online. You might call TripAdvisor the Michelin Guide of its time.
From about the 20th Century, flyers and brochures were a popular and cheap way to mass-produce marketing material for restaurants. They required only basic printing presses. Their widespread use reached its peak in the 1990s when the Personal Computer and computer printer made their way into most people's homes. While less popular today (owing to the increased use of email marketing and negative public perception), door-to-door flyering is still popular with delivery restaurants.
As with every industry, the restaurant industry was utterly reshaped by the internet boom. Now, every restaurant requires a domain, a listing in GoogleMaps, an entry in TripAdvisor, and social media profiles.
Third-party apps have also entered the scene. As take-out and delivery become more popular with diners, apps such as Uber Eats, Just Eat, and Grubhub provides another platform for restaurants to reach new customers.
The role of marketing has expanded. We reach people in their homes and on their smartphones. Restaurant video marketing is a way for customers to get a sense of your establishment right in the palm of their hands, before even stepping foot on the physical location. Business owners have more control, and yet more responsibility than ever to make a good impression, and video marketing is a powerful way to achieve that.
Practical examples to give you inspiration
The establishing shots in this video convey minimalism and precision: napkins being mindfully folded, asymmetrical low angle shot of the dining area, and a knife being carefully sharpened on a block. This aesthetic fits perfectly with Japanese culture. Touches like this can help with the authenticity of the restaurant. It sends the right message of: here we will be served authentic, carefully prepared sushi.
The CEO and founder have identified that his clients are concerned with the ethics and sustainability issues around serving fish. This video has a definite purpose: to inform and reassure customers that they operate around sustainability and fair work and pay.
This video also creates real value by including shots of their chefs at work.
This video by HuaHua taqueria centers around one of their most popular dishes: the Mahi Mahi Tacos
Here the restaurant owner talks passionately about the key ingredients that comprise their fish tacos. They establish themselves as the authentic taste of South Beach, Miami, inspired by their surroundings, and popular with both locals and tourists alike.
Based in the UK, Wahaca changed the face of Mexican-style cuisine across the pond.
They introduced fresh, healthy Mexican street food dishes to their West End restaurant in London, and since then have had extraordinary success. They have now opened 27 restaurants nationwide.
Wahaca has an active YouTube channel, and their most popular video has over 37,000 views. In this video, Wahaca co-founder, Thomasina Miers, visits Oaxaca, Mexico to show customers the inspiration behind her dishes.
Amara at Paraiso
Amara at Paraiso has two great USPs, incredible views over Biscayne Bay, and a traditional woodfire grill. The music used in this video reflects the chilled Latin vibes. From the video, it's clear that this is an upscale establishment. Without explicitly saying so, it tells the viewer, "dress up and book a babysitter."
This video is actually for a hotel chain and private member's club, Soho House, but it would make great content for a restaurant. It's also an example of how an educational video can elevate a brand. Senegalese Chef Pierre Tham talks about urban farming in Harlem, New York, and explains Senegalese culture before showing how he makes a roasted beet and fonio salad.
Tips and reminders for marketing with video
Customers are expecting you to make content, and video content is more memorable and shareable than other content types.
However, it's crucial to get into the customer mindset to create content they want or need
To get into the customer mindset, brainstorm questions, and then think about how your restaurant can answer them.
Identify your restaurant's USP and make sure it is included in your video.
Authenticity is key. Don't pretend to be fine dining, Michelin Star restaurant if you're not. That's not what everyone wants or is looking for. If you're a casual, family-friendly diner, say so.
Think about where you want to shoot, which members of staff you wish to include in the shoot.
Act natural on camera. A video's believability determines whether it will be shared.
Share your video on your website, YouTube, email newsletters, and social media.
We've reached a point in society where your customers and social media followers expect you to create engaging and useful content for them. In every industry, businesses of all sizes are creating video content to connect with their clients, but many of them are missing the mark. Your content needs to be informative, inspiring, helpful, educational, or entertaining.
In the restaurant industry, there are plenty of opportunities for you to fulfill those criteria. When planning your video, don't forget to highlight the USPs that make your restaurant unique, whether that's the location, the people, or, of course, the incredible food.
Get inspiration from other brands you admire and talk to a video production company that will be able to help you visualize and realize a video that will best reflect your brand.
Reyfilm is a video production company based out of Miami, Florida. Our team of videographers can film a fantastic video for your restaurant that will integrate masterfully with your overall marketing endeavors. In other words, we produce specifically optimized videos for restaurant marketing campaigns.