OpenTable partnered with Kristen Hawley, founder of the popular Chefs + Tech newsletter, to create How to Grow & Thrive in the Restaurant Business, the ultimate guide to serving guests and growing your business at every phase of a restaurant’s lifecycle. We’re teasing excerpts all week, so follow along and download the whole guide here.
Boka Group’s Kevin Boehm and his partner Rob Katz had a serious interest in video. So, when opening their restaurants they did what any smart entrepreneur would do and combined their interests—and a brilliant and effective marketing strategy was born. Videos chronicling restaurant openings and big announcements, produced by the Boka Group team and a video production partner, netted huge viewership online and tons of buzz for a small time and financial investment. Here’s how they did it.
Create great content. Good marketing has always been about creating content that’s rich: a story or video about the restaurant’s design, for example. We create layers: food, hospitality, and design. As long as you have layers of all those three things, content will be newsworthy.
Do it better. With so much competition it’s become about building content that’s better than everyone else builds. When we opened GT Fish & Oyster, we decided to film videos almost like you would film a TV show. We created 10 episodes leading up to the restaurant opening, from a look at the test kitchen, to putting the drink menu together, to construction and design, to the actual hiring. We filmed the entire hiring process. People started to follow it and the personalities involved—so they were not interested just in the principles of the restaurant, but in the people who worked there, too.
Have a plan. Most people are building their buzz organically through social media. The one thing you have to remember is that it’s a competition, and you can’t flippantly make this content. You need a plan and you need to make sure you execute—make sure it’s lighted correctly, for example.
Quality matters. Anyone can do video on their phone now. If you’re going to produce videos, make sure they are of good quality. When someone looks at pictures or video of your restaurant and gets a sense of how detailed you are in those regards, it’s a microcosm of how detailed you’re going to be at the restaurant.
Build excitement. When we announced who our chef-partner was going to be at Perennial, Paul Virant, we got 10,000 views because we built it up beforehand, for a month. In the video, we showed Rob, then me, then Paul. When we partnered with Bristol for Balena, we showed all the food that was going to be on the menu. You couldn’t see any of us; we shot it all from the necks down. So viewers saw all the food coming out with descriptions underneath. At the very end the cameras rose up and said, “See you in Halstead this fall.” What you hope is that you build up some sort of suspense or excitement based on the information in the video, and you get a lot of eyes on it.
Remember the goal. Of course, the ultimate goal is that you get a lot of people’s eyes on it. If you build something that’s truly funny or cool or interesting, then it’s going to be picked up by a lot of people. We build these up for a month on social media and our YouTube channel, and encourage online publications to share the content.
Photos courtesy of Boka Group.