Featuring: Erik Croswell / Production Director / Bridge City Media
The pandemic has left no one untouched, for many restaurant owners it meant closing their doors for good. Vegan restaurants weren’t the exception, according to Purple Cow data, some 88 plant-based restaurants in the US shut down since March. However, that number cancels out with the same source data showing that 99 new ones opened for business. More than a silver lining, this number could be an indicator on the shift in consumer eating habits.
To be sure, operating a restaurant today is very different than just a few months ago, before the global pandemic. Restaurant owners must adhere to health safety guidelines while actively promoting the product they sell: delicious food!
Not an easy feat when you consider many are working on shoestring marketing budgets. Many promotions which in the past would have been carried out on-site must now move to online-only. This means, creating marketing assets and taking a creative approach that makes customers and prospects want to place an order.
vWire News spoke with Erik Croswell, Production Director at Bridge City Media. Erik shared his valuable expertise in this Q&A.
As a restaurant owner prepping for your video content, is there a check-list you recommend using?
Yes! For a check-list, we would recommend a few things for both the digital space, and for the physical shoot. Before creating any video content, one should make sure that all of the company’s branding is setup correctly.
Do you have an established logo? Established colors? Established font? These are all elements that will be helpful to include in a final video.
You’ll also want to make sure you know where you’ll be putting it online. Some websites will only accept certain video files, you’ll want to make sure you have an account already setup on a video hosting platform like Youtube or Vimeo, and if you’re posting it on social media, certain aspect ratio formats can be the most useful for getting better views and engagement.
- 1080×1080 for short instagram or facebook posts,
- 1080×1920 for IGTV or Instagram stories
- 1920×1080 for youtube or websites.
For any filming in your restaurant, make sure:
- Your space is clean and free of clutter.
- That there’s plenty of light in the space.
- That you have some actors available that are positive representatives for your company
- If there will be any sound recording, try and have easy access to turn off louder machines like some refrigerators, or AC units
Coordinate a time to film when your restaurant is closed or has very light traffic. For promotional content, you’ll likely need to photo consent forms for people who are filmed, which can be hard to do for regular patrons.
What are some approaches vegan restaurant owners/managers can take as they create video content to promote their business online and social media?
Be visual! Show off your food and show off the personality of your staff. We recommend Instagram posts, Instagram stories, and Facebook advertising for short-term promotions.
Instagram posts: Instagram is a powerful platform for restaurants because it’s such a visual medium.
Take high quality photos of short videos of your food and post a few times a week. Do some research and find some hashtags that are popular for vegan food, and in your local restaurant scene/ community.
Instagram stories: When people are already your followers, it’s great to stay engaged with them through Instagram stories. These don’t have to be very polished. They should show off your personality, be real, be human, or just promote something you’re excited about. Stories offer a lot of opportunities to connect with your community and get people talking about you.
Facebook advertising: For short term promotions like a weekend or holiday deal, making a targeted FB ad campaign can be effective to promote your restaurant to new customers. A nicely-produced video with subtitles could be used for advertising to vegans in your area. FB Advertising goes a bit farther than just boosting a post, as you have a lot more options for targeting the ad. An ad professional would likely help you with this, but there are also lots of great online tutorials to guide you to set this up too.
What should they keep in mind in terms of what works and what doesn’t?
What works is keeping up with a consistent, and thoughtful branding of your tasty food, your top-notch values, and your goofy staff. Incorporating good video content can be a long game. There are not easy one-time videos and boosted posts that will be likely to make a quick change in your business. Create some decent video content that shows off what makes your restaurant uniquely amazing, and share it around to your followers and friends. It can be a good strategy to take the same video and cut it into smaller segments and resize them to be shared on other platforms too.
How much can a restaurant owner/manager expect to spend on quality video?
Quality video doesn’t need to be very expensive these days. 4k video has become more widely available and a lot more skilled videography teams have entered the market. Many production hubs might sell a standard, short video ad for about $5000, but with some research and shopping around, you can find people that offer high quality video ad packages for less than $1000.
What are some DIY options for quick promotions or seasonal offerings?
We would recommend making short video posts and advertising or boosting. You can film a few quick clips on your phone and use free online editing sites like WeVideo and Canva to add some pizazz to the video.
What is a common mistake you see clients make when creating video content?
A very common mistake is that clients will get a video made, put it up on Youtube, share it once, and hope that it goes viral. Millions of new videos are posted online every day and there’s a lot of noise to cut through. To reach your customers effectively, it’s important to have a plan for exactly how you’d plan to share your video online before producing one.
Are there guidelines in terms or length?
Our attention spans are dwindling every year and this is especially so depending on where the video is shared. For Facebook and Instagram, we’d recommend keeping it at 30 seconds or less. For a homepage of a website, this can be a bit longer, but still no longer than 90 seconds.
What is the most popular format of video for restaurants?
Short, fun, and highly visual videos are great for restaurants. A 30 second video that can be shared on social media that shows some tasty food and features 2-3 quick testimonials from customers is a great place to start!
Erik Croswell, Production Director
Bridge City Media