January 9, 2014 in Consumer, Events, Gastronomy, Video Analysis

With food programs becoming increasingly popular on TV, it’s not surprising that many restaurants are using film to promote themselves. We conducted an informal study to see how restaurant promo videos were used on Clapham High Street, one of London’s highest concentration of restaurants.

The results show that although videos are a powerful tool, it takes particular style of content, format and visuals to make them truly work.

The results are here:

How High Street restaurants use video

Through a simple search on YouTube we found out clear patterns emerge through this small sample.

Video is widespread

8 out of 10 restaurant on the High Street use a promotional video, showing that businesses have already widely embraced this way of communication, this is the playlist of the 10 restaurants.

Although encouraging for the use of video it also means that one has to make extra efforts to stand out.

Many similarities

Despite the great diversity of cuisine displayed by the restaurants similar recipes are being used by all. In fact just like in the movies there are so many similarities that restaurant videos can be split in mainly 3 “genres”:
The “atmosphere”
This genre uses the best possible shots of the restaurant covered by music corresponding to the type of food
The “testimonial”
It can take the basis of the atmosphere genre but with added customer reaction saying how they love the food and how it is their favourite restaurant
The “documentary”
Here a spokesperson talks to the camera and mentions all the strengths of the restaurant, delivering a marketing pitch which is used as voice-over to overlay nice images of the restaurant.

No audience

Although restaurants are using more and more video to promote themselves, these videos are not reaching a significant audience. They usually have less than 500 views per year and hardly any engagement as measured by likes and comments.
This lacklustre performance is surprising when compared with the high drama in food TV programmes and the huge audience they generate. Old media meets new media when it comes to food as pictures of good-looking dishes are spreading on Instagram and Twitter. There seems to be a huge opportunity for independent restaurants to leverage the power of these two trends through video but most to fail to seize it.

Tips for better restaurant promo videos

These simple guidelines should allow you to stand above the crowd of restaurants in YouTube.

Stop marketing

Let’s face it, nobody goes on YouTube to hear your marketing message. If you decide to use videos then you have entered the entertainment industry whether you like it or not!

Inspire or at least demonstrate

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward
Replace teacher by video and you have in your hands a very powerful guideline that’s useful for any business not just restaurants.

Use content that will interest your audience

If you provide something useful, then your content is much more likely to be watched and shared and it doesn’t mean that there will be less marketing impact. A recipe can be a good way to show off skills which will can draw clients to your place even if they may occasionally try the recipe at home.

Some ideas from top restaurant videos

Show a recipe

Although not an original solution it is an effective one. A recipe can be a great marketing tool, if you are the chef it shows your skills but also a lot of your personality which is a great way to establish a meaningful connection with your audience. It is also an opportunity to create stunning dishes that social media loves to share.

Here is how Tom Kerridge does it:

Create a story

Myths and stories existed before marketing was invented and we are wired to respond to them.

Here is how Clare Smyth from Restaurant Gordon Ramsawy does it:

Talk about your philosophy

Be authentic, tell us about what drives you, how you motivate your team, what made you start the place, what part you play in your community. If you are a chef or a restaurant owner, you are also an entrepreneur, employer, teamworker so there are plenty of ways to go beyond food and engage your audience through personal stories and establish an emotional connection with your audience.

Here is how Louis from Sappho Meze Bar, probably the smallest restaurant on Clapham High Street, does it:

You don’t need a Michelin star or a TV show to reach an audience, there are plenty of ways to use video to get your customers to find you or remember you the next time they go online to find a place for dinner.

Do you have a question or a tip to share on restaurant videos? Contact us at hello@orama.tv.
Or read more about Food Video Production

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