The Basics of Restaurant Video Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide

Luke Januschka

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July 3, 2024
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Cat videos, food ASMR, viral memes – video content reigns supreme online. This shift towards online video is dramatically changing marketing. 

What does that mean for you?

As a restaurant owner or marketer, it’s crucial to recognize the power of restaurant video marketing. By incorporating video into your marketing efforts, you can do much better than what you’re doing right now.

How do we say that with so much confidence? Let’s take a look at the stats:


As traditional advertising gives way to digital, video emerges as the medium of choice. Yet many restaurants haven’t fully tapped into its potential. This guide levels the playing field.

We’ll decode video marketing for the food industry with real-world examples and actionable tips. 

The goal? To help restaurants develop winning video strategies that captivate audiences and drive results.

Benefits of Video Marketing for Restaurants

Why video marketing is important for restaurant?

Did you know that video is one of the most versatile and effective marketing tools for restaurants?

After spearheading marketing campaigns for many dining hotspots, the hard facts made us believers.

Now, we want to let you in on the secret. Here are seven undeniable benefits of video marketing for restaurants:

1. Increased Engagement and Reach

Video reigns supreme when it comes to engaging content. Viewers are much more likely to watch a video than read blocks of text or flip through images.

In fact, video posts see 135% more organic reach than textual posts.

Even a short, snappy video can work wonders. Videos that are under two minutes long generate the highest retention rates across social platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

2. Enhanced Customer Experience

Video is the next best thing to experiencing your restaurant in real life. Vibrant visuals and sound bring your brand personality to life and allow you to showcase elements that static images can’t capture.

Behind-the-scenes videos are a great way to give customers a sneak peek of what goes on in your kitchen. Take them on an exclusive tour to meet your talented chefs and check out your state-of-the-art equipment!

Additionally, customer testimonials are also hugely impactful in video format.

Seeing and hearing real guests rave about their exceptional dining experience carries much more weight than text alone.

3. Boosted Conversion Rates

Adding video to your website or landing page can increase conversion rates by up to 80%!

Videos demonstrate your brand personality better than any brochure. Patrons glimpse menu items, ambiance, and service before stepping foot inside.

This familiarity breeds comfort driving conversions.

4. Cost-Effectiveness

cost-effectiveness

Contrary to popular belief, video marketing doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, it can be more cost-effective than traditional advertising methods.

Running a local TV spot can cost $2k, while the average CPM for a Facebook video ad is around $20.

Similarly, a single billboard can cost upwards of $1,500 per month, whereas producing and promoting a video on platforms like YouTube or Instagram can be done for a fraction of that cost.

Affordable video marketing means maximizing your reach and impact for every hard-earned dollar.

5. Improved SEO and Online Visibility

Google just LOVES video content!

Why? Well, videos keep visitors engaged on pages longer and that signals to search engines that your content is interesting and relevant.

Posting videos can skyrocket your website up the SERP rankings as visitors flock in to check out the visually compelling content.

This inbound traffic also provides SEO benefits, such as lower bounce rates, more time spent per page, and increased pages per visit.

We know that SEO can be a tough nut to crack. Restaurant Growth offers coaching services to help you learn video marketing and everything between the lines.

Don’t let your competitors outrank you.

👉 Enroll in our coaching program!

 6. Building Brand Identity and Loyalty

Video is the ultimate medium for storytelling. Use it to give your guests a window into your establishment’s origin story and unique culinary perspective.

This backstory and authentic messaging help to differentiate your brand from competitors. 

Rolling out fresh video content on a consistent basis also keeps customers engaged and invested in your ongoing brand narrative.

In fact, 64% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands who regularly publish videos over those who don’t!

 7. Versatility and Shareability

The shareability of video generates more eyeballs with less effort on your part. A viewer watches your TikTok clip and then excitedly texts the link to five friends who also tune in.

Before you know it, your small video campaign explodes across new networks, bringing viral attention to your brand!

Short teasers and trailers build hype for upcoming events or menu launches. In comparison, episodic series allow you to reveal menu updates, new hires, and more through multiple videos.

And, of course, fun, bite-sized clips are quick and easy to produce while being extremely shareable across social media.

Amplify your reach by encouraging viewers to like, comment, and share your vibrant video content.

Our team of Certified Restaurant Coaches™ offers personalized coaching, live webinars, and cutting-edge marketing strategies to help you achieve your goals.

Join our community and start growing your restaurant today!

Best Practices for Restaurant Video Marketing

Video content is essential for restaurants wanting to stand out online. However, creating videos that engage customers takes strategy and skill.

Follow these seven expert video marketing tips to captivate audiences and drive results for your restaurant.

1. Keep Content Brief and Engaging

With short attention spans, viewers lose interest quickly. In fact, a study found that videos under one minute had 62% completion rates which is higher compared to longer videos.

So, keep videos under one minute when possible. Hook them in the first 5-10 seconds before they click away.

Aim for videos between 15 and 60 seconds on TikTok and Reels and one and two minutes on YouTube. Shorter videos also tend to rank better on social media algorithms.

Experiment with various short video ads to determine the best-performing lengths and formats across each viral video platform.

2. Optimize for Different Platforms

Every platform has its own vibe and best practices.

On TikTok and Reels, quick cuts, text overlays, and trending music connect best. Optimize for short, snappy content that aligns with current trends to increase your reach.

Instagram Stories reward casual, behind-the-scenes moments that give a personal touch. Use vertical format and interactive elements like polls and questions to boost engagement. 

YouTube requires a different approach; here, viewers expect detailed storytelling and higher production value. Optimize your videos with clear titles, descriptions, and tags, and consider using thumbnails that attract clicks.

Additionally, enabling captions on Facebook and Instagram ensures that viewers who watch videos without sound can still engage with your content.

This optimization helps in keeping a broader audience engaged across different viewing preferences.

💡 Pro tip:

Include subtitles for accessibility. It can also improve your SEO and reach a wider audience.

3. Try Out Interactive Video Content

Interactive elements like polls, questions, and clickable buttons keep viewers tapping and swiping.

For example, ask fans to vote for their favorite menu item or have them choose ingredients for a custom dish. This two-way engagement boosts video completion rates and social engagement.

4. Utilize User-Generated Content

Encourage happy customers to capture their dining experience on video. Offer a special hashtag or prompt a specific type of content. Then, repost the best shots.

These authentic views showcase your vibe better than promotional material ever could. Reward contributors with discounts or shoutouts to inspire more UGC.

💡 Pro tip:

Ensure videos meet quality standards, use branded hashtags for discoverability, and optimize content for each platform’s format to enhance visibility and engagement.


5. Do Live Streaming

Live video events feel spontaneous and exclusive, offering fans a unique inside look at your restaurant.

Try filming a Q&A or an “in the kitchen” cooking tutorial. Promote the stream in advance through your social media channels and email newsletters to drive viewers.

During the stream, interact with viewers by answering their questions in real time. After the event, download the content to edit and repurpose for future posts, stories, or a highlight reel.

 

6. Embrace Video SEO Practices

Optimize video file names, titles, descriptions, and transcripts using relevant keywords. This helps search engines understand what each video covers.

In addition, make it a practice to insert links back to your restaurant website and include area location names for local SEO value.

You should also encourage viewers to like, comment, share, and engage with videos to signal value to the YouTube algorithm.

 

7. Use the Right Analytics and Tools

Robust analytics are key to optimizing video performance over time.

Native platform tools like YouTube Studio, Facebook Insights, and Instagram Insights provide free data around views, engagements, traffic sources, and more. They also give macro-level insights to guide strategy.

For deeper analysis, Google Analytics tracks website traffic driven specifically by embedded videos and video links in posts. This allows you to attribute conversion value to each video and better understand its impact on your business.

TubeBuddy is another powerful tool that analyzes individual YouTube video performance in detail. It provides keyword rankings and comparative benchmarks to improve each video.

Navigating multiple data tools can be complex. Let Restaurant Growth simplify it with tailored video optimization advice.

Schedule a 1:1 with us!

Or prefer to DIY? Join our coaching sessions or webinars!

Enroll in our restaurant coaching and webinars!

Measuring the Success of Your Video Marketing Efforts

To determine if your video strategy is working, diligently track key metrics over time. Start by monitoring views, completion rates, shares, comments, likes, and dislikes per video. This engagement data reveals content performance.

Aim for at least a 50% average completion rate, more video views each month, and a 5% engagement rate (likes + comments/views). Videos that continually underperform against these benchmarks may need to be refined or replaced.

Additionally, implement UTM tracking codes to measure traffic, phone calls, and online reservations generated by each video. This showcases real business impact.

For example, a “College Budget Cooking” video that drives 50 direct reservations monthly delivers incredible ROI compared to a beautifully filmed brand video with zero conversions.

Next, set up a restaurant dashboard to monitor key video marketing metrics automatically using data integrations. 

Initially, assess data every two weeks to spot trends. Then, optimize your future video strategy based on insights into top-performing themes, formats, and distribution channels. Consistently analyze performance to maximize video success.

Looking for a holistic marketing strategy for your restaurant that goes beyond videos? Read our exclusive, insider guide on digital marketing for restaurants

3 Creative Ways To Use Videos For Promoting Your Restaurant

From quick social clips to polished marketing campaigns, videos give you endless creative ways to showcase your restaurant’s food, ambiance, and personality.

Let’s unwrap some appetizing video marketing ideas you can whip up without breaking a sweat.

#1 – Interactive Live Cooking Shows

Host live cooking shows to promote your restaurant


Invite customers into your kitchen with live cooking demos on social media. Viewers love the behind-the-scenes look at how dishes are prepared and plated.

Take a cue from the “Benihana’s Famous Teppanyaki Live Cooking Show.”

The video showcases the theatrical and entertaining aspects of Benihana’s teppanyaki-style cooking. 

The chef’s impressive knife skills and lively interactions with diners create an engaging and memorable experience that sets Benihana apart from typical restaurants.

Furthermore, the sizzling sounds, the laughter, and the applause from guests in the video create an inviting and festive ambiance, encouraging diners to be part of the experience.

So, how can you do your own interactive live cooking shows?

Go live on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube to give followers VIP access. Answer their questions in real time while prepping signature menu items. Offer an e-coupon or discount code for participating live.

These real, unscripted events build buzz and give your chef much-deserved time in the spotlight!

💡 Pro tip:

Schedule shows during peak dinner decision time (5-7 PM) to catch hungry viewers.


#2 – Employee Features

Starbucks showcasing baristas telling their stories


Short video profiles of your staff humanize your operation and build connections. Capture cooks prepping ingredients or hostesses answering phones. Slices of your employees’ workday routines put a face and personality to your restaurant.

Have them chat about their background, role, and favorite parts of the job. 

Now, Starbucks certainly takes the trophy for some of the best employee features.

This video on their YouTube channel highlights the baristas’ dedication to their craft, their passion for creating memorable experiences, and their genuine interest in customers’ lives. 

Through heartfelt interactions and shared moments, the baristas demonstrate exceptional customer service, fostering a sense of community within the restaurant. 

Take a page from Starbucks restaurant video marketing and showcase the importance of human connection in enhancing the dining experience. Customers will enjoy learning that your restaurant is more than just brick-and-mortar.

#3 – Themed Recipe Videos Tied to Holidays/Events

Nickel 9 Distillery recipe video on Christmas cocktail


Mark major calendar moments like Halloween or Mother’s Day with custom recipe tutorial videos. Demonstrate how to concoct festive cocktails or decorate dishes tailored to each occasion.

For example, Nickel 9 Distillery’s video, which shows off its Christmas spirit in a festive cocktail, engages viewers and highlights a unique seasonal product. 

The recipe’s professional presentation and clear instructions make it easy to follow. Filming in their distillery creates an immersive brand experience. 

Moreover, releasing the video during the holidays maximizes relevance and encourages viewers to purchase the limited edition spirit. 

To pull off a themed recipe video of your own, go all out decorating your set and props around the theme. Have your chef don a silly Santa suit or crazy wig. Outline any substitutions to make recipes gluten-free, vegetarian, etc.

These DIY videos allow viewers to recreate a taste of your establishment at home.

Want more ideas and inspirations? Check this post out!

Best Platforms for Restaurant Video Marketing

Here is a tabular summary of the best platforms for restaurant video marketing:

Platform

Overview

Pros

Cons

YouTube

The OG video platform boasts over two billion monthly users

  • Access to a massive built-in audience
  • Powerful analytics 
  • Ideal for tutorials and behind-the-scenes content
  • Requires video ads to effectively drive views and subscribers
  • Has a steep learning curve for new users

Instagram

Over one billion active users, with a strong foodie community 

  • High engagement rates
  • Visually-driven content, perfect for mouthwatering food shots
  • Limited video length.
  • Can get lost in busy feeds

TikTok

Over one billion monthly active users. A key platform for Gen Z

  • Highly sharable content
  • Algorithm can drive views organically 
  • Creative video formats
  • Fleetness of viral fame
  • Fewer targeting options

Vimeo

A more professional platform focused on video quality over quantity

  • Great video player and analytics 
  • Ad-free viewing 
  • Control over user comments
  • Much smaller audience than other platforms
  • Paid subscriptions are needed for full features

Website

Hosting videos on your restaurant’s website allows you full creative control

  • Complete brand alignment 
  • Videos live alongside other assets like menus and reservations
  • Limited reach compared to other platforms 
  • Added hosting expenses


What Is the Cost of Video Marketing for a Restaurant?

cost of video marketing for a restaurant


When allocating your marketing budget, understand the costs involved with various video marketing options.

Professionally produced video ads run between $2,000 and $5,000 per video. Prices vary based on length, concept complexity, animation, music licensing, and more. 

Once your videos are complete, promote them through paid channels for maximum reach.

Pre-roll YouTube ads average $0.10-$0.30 per view, offering immense value given that six billion hours of video are watched daily on the platform.

Facebook and Instagram video ads start at around $0.07 per view, making them cost-effective options for reaching your audience.

User-generated content is a budget-friendly alternative offering authenticity. Incentivize customers to create reviews, Shorts, and Reels by offering incentives like a $100 gift card giveaway, which can yield a high return on investment through visibility and engagement. 

Platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels are ideal for affordable, DIY-style videos.

As you evaluate video marketing costs, prioritize strategy over splurging on video production alone. Well-planned distribution and optimization ensure your videos reach the right audiences at the right frequency to drive results. 

Want hands-on guidance for your restaurant’s marketing game plan? Restaurant Growth specializes in just that. 


Driving Restaurant Profit With Promotional Video Marketing

Video marketing is not child’s play, especially for restaurants operating on wafer-thin margins. Through this guide, we’ve shown how video builds lasting brand awareness and direct sales when planned right. 

So don’t leave video marketing off your restaurant promotion menu. Data shows the juicy benefits speak for themselves. 

From keyword research to metadata optimization, our team of experts will guide you through the process of creating video content that works.

So, why wait? 

Get in touch with us today!

FAQs

What is the most important marketing tool of any restaurant?

Your website is the most important marketing tool for your restaurant. It’s often the first interaction potential customers have with your brand.

A well-designed, user-friendly website with mouth-watering photos and easy-to-find information (like your menu, hours, and location) can be the deciding factor in whether someone chooses to dine with you. 


How important is social media marketing for restaurants?

Social media marketing is very essential for restaurants in today’s age. A strong social media presence can help you attract new customers, build brand loyalty, and even drive online orders. In fact, a study found that 45% of consumers have tried a restaurant because of their social media posts. 


How often should I post videos to promote my restaurant?

Consistency is key when it comes to restaurant video marketing. Aim to post videos at least once a week to keep your audience engaged and your brand top-of-mind. However, quality trumps quantity.

Focus on creating high-quality, engaging videos that showcase your restaurant’s unique offerings and personality. 


How can I involve my customers in my restaurant videos?

Encourage diners to share their experiences by creating user-generated content (UGC) campaigns. For example, host a contest where customers can submit short video reviews of their favorite dishes or memorable moments at your restaurant.

Offer incentives like gift cards or exclusive discounts to motivate participation. Additionally, consider featuring loyal customers or local influencers in your promotional videos to add authenticity and credibility to your marketing efforts.

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Luke Januschka
Luke Januschka is a pivotal partner at Restaurant Growth, where he spearheads strategies that have generated over 30 million dollars in tracked sales for our valued restaurant clients.
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