If you are involved in the restaurant industry and you still need convincing that using social media is a great way to market your restaurant…then…stop…reading…this. This is not for you. Do another Google search and let someone else try to convince you that it’s worth your time. This is for those that ‘Get It’, those ‘in the know’, and the go-getters that go…and get. WE get it, and it’s time to move forward. Even though we are focused on ‘food photography’ here at Your Kitchen Camera, we feel a slight deviation from our focus can still help. So, below you will find some pointers and tips on how we feel you can use photography, particularly with the Instagram platform, to stay in touch with your customer base and share and highlight that which makes your restaurant worthy of a visit.
In looking for visual examples to relate to this post, I simply got on my own personal Instagram account, looked at the restaurants that I follow and asked myself…”Who does a good job?” A good job of keeping me interested, a good job of showcasing themselves, a good job of staying relevant within my feed, and not getting buried or lost amongst the rest of the visual fodder. After finding that Capital Club 16 in Raleigh NC ‘does a good job’, I asked ‘What is it about their Instagram feed that I like?’…basically…
Here is the gist: Through their imagery on Instagram, they support their main focus. For them (and it may be different for you), they wanted to have a place where their customers feel as if they were ‘at home’ in their kitchen. They vary the types of images they post so monotony is never an issue, they keep it light and fun, they offer a window into ‘life’ at the restaurant and they support those ‘other’ businesses that help them stay successful. Need it simpler? The are open and sharing.
Capital Club 16 does a great job of showcasing their dishes that make them unique to anywhere else in-town. Whether it be a brunch special with seasonal vegetables, their latest drink specials or a fresh salad, newly created in the kitchen.
Occasionally, to break the monotony of repeating too many of the same angles of their food shots, they will show food but also incorporate some life into the shot by adding some of the staff. It adds to the personality of their restaurant and creates an inviting, less formal and more family-ish feel.
Not only do they showcase food photography of their dishes but often, they will highlight individual ingredients, showcasing their beauty and freshness and often, they will showcase other businesses that they work with, or their regualar suppliers of their ingredients. This ‘sharing’ is what social media is thriving upon and people respond well to businesses that are not just out there for themselves.
They get back in the kitchen with Chef Jake Wolf, they show staff having fun, serving food, getting ready for events.
Again, the message conveyed supports their goal of making everyone part of the family, and wanting their customers to feel that sense of comfort in their restaurant…who wouldn’t want to be a part of it? Maybe your restaurant has a different goal for itself. Maybe it wants to be the formal, dressed up, celebrity-chef driven and star rated establishment. Possibly you run a quick serve lunch spot for business lunches…no matter what you are trying to share just be sure that the images you use on your Instagram account supports that goal and tells that story.
Likewise, as a deviation from repeating the same images, Capital Club 16 will sprinkle in little ‘vignettes’ of the restaurant, or events as they happen, or small visual cues at customers having a pleasant and comfortable time. Atmosphere is important in a restaurant business and you’ll want to showcase not only ‘what’ you serve, but also ‘where’ you serve it.
People love being invited in to share. Occasionally, on the Capital Club 16 Instagram account, you will see glimpses further into the lives of owners’ Jake and Shannon Wolf. Whether it be there son Johnny, having his way with the latest dessert offering or a quiet moment of their dog, Tiny Wolf, getting ready for Tuesday night’s Honky Tonk jam…they get personal and they get creative. Sometimes they will even combine a simple view of their life into a flyer-style advertisement. It breaks the monotony, keeps it personal and interesting to watch as a viewer of their Instagram account.
No matter what your marketing goal and message is for your restaurant, using photography on social media platforms such as Instagram can be a great tool as long as the images you create support that story.