Food and cooking is the fastest growing vertical on YouTube, according to a recent YouTube Insights report. That represents an enormous opportunity for restaurateurs, large and small, to attract prospective customers before they even set foot in the door. We've spent a great deal of time producing successful video content for restaurant owners and caterers, so follow our 4-step guide to video content, formats, visuals and optimization that will really help enable your restaurant videos to be a success.
A Four Step Recipe for Successful Restaurant Videos
Appetizing Video Content: What Foodies Want to Watch
A very common mistake in restaurant videos is to focus on purely delivering the marketing message, while failing to appeal to the audience’s need for entertainment or education. YouTube provides a perfect vehicle to both entertain and educate simultaneously in a visually stimulating way. A demonstration of a chef’s iconic dish executed through a simple yet inspirational recipe is favourable and your safest bet.
A recipe can really deliver a powerful marketing message. Recipes alone are driving content on some of the biggest food channels such as Sorted, Rosanna Pansino, and Laura Vitale. This engaging style of content provides useful information to the audience but it doesn’t have to be purely practical-based. The chef can also showcase the quality of his ingredients, his culinary skills as well as his personality and experience. Elements that will greatly enhance the marketing impact but in a more subtle and appealing way. However, the food industry doesn’t need to restrict itself to recipes; telling a story or talking about your philosophy can also work.
The Right Format for Your Cooking Video
Start with the main dish
Too often, corporate videos start slow and fail to generate a personal, emotional connection with their audience. You only have a few seconds to engage a viewer on YouTube where the attention span is already minimal and the next video is a click away.
The key is to create an impact within these initial few seconds in the hope of retaining the viewer for the duration or at least the majority of the video. ‘Sorted Food’ create high impact early on by choosing to start their video with a close-up image of the final dish. For our own videos for ‘The Staff Canteen’ we aim to start the chef’s narration as early as possible (with minimum introductions) while accommodating the required sponsor’s messages
Show cooking skills and emotion
The kitchen is an intense environment, even more reason why the ‘human element’ of the video should never be overlooked and should come across naturally when shooting, irrespective of the chef’s pedigree – as this is an industry who are clearly passionate about their work. You can easily feel this passion and drive when 3 Michelin starred, Clare Smyth from Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, speaks to the camera.
Visuals: Don't Hesitate to Create FoodPorn Videos
Good cinematography is critical to video engagement and impact. This will vary depending upon the video-maker but in any event they should be given one clear direction: the final dish is the hero of your film and should be shot with amplified precision and care. Filming in a busy kitchen environment is challenging, the time for setting the scene and the lights is often limited – however we always take the time to produce at least 4 shots of the finished dish. You will get much more engagement when you give the audience enough time to marvel at your creation and experience it with the full power of video.
Skills and ingredients
The recipe doesn’t have to be re-created in the home domestic kitchen, nor does it need to be a video tutorial. People just love watching dishes be prepared and food styling even if they are not regular cooks. Your recipe needn’t go into the details of the proportions and cooking time, instead you can aim for the “wow” factor.
For Dessert: Optimize, Optimize, Optimize!
Create a full menu of videos on your channel
Creating high-quality videos does not guarantee instant online success. Videos can only reach their full potential when they are optimized for YouTube. If you are posting regular videos, you should create your own dedicated restaurant channel. After all, one video doesn’t make much of a channel! It makes sense to plan at least another video to be posted soon after, but they needn’t require additional filming, a half day shoot should provide you with plenty of footage for a recipe series.
As with regular video formats it is important to take care of the metadata and thumbnail of each video. What we found particularly effective is to use the close-up of the final dish. Having tested many other options including portrait of celebrity chefs and top restaurant logos, it is the food that matters most.
Watch how Sorted Food takes care of the thumbnails:
This 4-step "recipe" should help you to experience YouTube success. Please let us know in the comments below if you have experienced with any of them and what were the results.