Storytelling Instead of #FoodPorn for Restaurant Video Content Marketing
There’s definitely no shortage of #foodporn out there, with countless picture-perfect meals on Instagram. Let’s look at using storytelling to add depth to your restaurant video content and help you stand out.
These days it’s hard to escape with delicious food content on TV, Netflix, YouTube, and every form of social media. For me and I’m sure many of you, we’re getting a bit desensitized to it.
Seeing a post of an impossibly tall burger with stacks of shiny bacon, gooey cheese, and a mandatory brioche bun, just doesn’t catch my eye like it used to in the early Instagram days. And on top of that, are we putting too much pressure on burgers with these unrealistic standards?
One way to combat #foodpornfatigue (I just invented that hashtag, you’re welcome) is through storytelling. Instead of just sexy scenes of food, why not a little plot? A little behind-the-scenes? A little history? A little character development? Then turn the pieces into a story.
Instead of a photo, Boomerang or a short video clip, I’m talking long-form content (and by long-form I mean one to two minutes, tops). And if you’re looking for more video creation tips, check out 7 video marketing trends we’ll see in 2019.
Think of buying a bottle of expensive wine. Is the high price tag enough of a reason? What if you read the label that tells more about it? What if a sommelier told you about the grapes, how the season was, the vineyard, the family that owns it, and their process? Would that convince you?
Two summers ago, I visited a large food market while in Florence, Italy. With rows and rows of spectacular local ingredients, the challenge wasn’t finding quality, it was deciding which vendor to buy from.
After stopping at one stall, the owners quickly introduced themselves. They were mother and son and told me about the story of their generational family business and their dedication to tradition. Then they showed me a photo of their truffle-hunting dogs… And I was ready to buy their story. Then when giving a couple of lucky friends’ small bottles of truffle oil, they also got the story.
The Story of a Dish
Below I’ll use a perfect example from our media team, created for White Spot Restaurants in Canada. For those who haven’t visited a White Spot, it’s an original, home-grown restaurant chain in Western Canada that’s been part of our local history since 1928 and a client we’re very proud to work with.
They have an annual friendly competition between their Red Seal Chefs to create a winning dish that will be featured on their menus. Besides the winning dish being very (visually) delicious, the story behind it is what makes it extra special. I’ll break down key points in how this video effectively tells a story, to elevate an already delicious lasagna into an experience that’s more than food.
This video tells a quick story of the chef competition but also follows a basic 3-act story structure with the setup or inciting incident, then the rising action or conflict, then the resolution or climax. While this isn’t a 22-minute sitcom or 2-hour movie, following the 3-act structure allows the content’s message to be naturally received by the viewer.
The first act sets up the story of chefs competing, then the characters (chefs) are introduced. The second act sets up the rising action, which in this case is sharing the inspiration for their dish and how it’s made. The resolution in the third act shares why it why their dish won and how the main characters reacted.
Thought, care, and work had to go into each dish to make it Insta-worthy. Share the people behind it and their motivation to make their idea a reality that customers get to enjoy.
Most food content shared by restaurants is only the finished product. This is, of course, the easiest and gets right to the point. But in terms of enjoying a story, it skips right to the ending. Share the process, the making-of, some behind-the-scenes action.
For this specific video, the resolution was the dish winning the competition. For a dish a restaurant is proud of that didn’t happen to win anything, you can end with more than just a shot of the completed dish.
Consider including a final thought from the chef or another member of the team. It could be reading a testimonial from a customer who enjoyed this dish, played as the audio for the final shots of the dish.
A story has to be rooted in truth, with a little embellishment allowed on the side (as all stories do). Then when it comes to storytelling as content marketing, there’s a big difference compared to someone telling a story to friends.
If someone’s story stretches the truth with some exaggeration, their friends will let it slide as part of the fun. When it comes to a brand doing the same, consumers are ready to call out them out all over social media. These days, only authentic stories are worth telling.
What’s your food story?
Does your restaurant, menu, or specific dish have a story behind it? Was it inspired by your family or culture? Did a travel experience lead to it? Or maybe just as a result of a fun night experimenting in the kitchen? And just like grandma’s lasagna recipe, remember to plan out your story’s layers and keep it authentic.
To learn more about the process behind this video, check out our interview with our Creative Manager, Cristobal Ruiz.