I don’t need to tell you how competitive the restaurant business is. You already know that which I’m sure is why you are reading this post.
Over the decades that I’ve worked with restaurants for their food photography I often found myself more deeply involved in their restaurant marketing. In addition to 2 decades experience in food photography, my background includes working in public relations, writing, marketing, website building, search engine optimization and social media. I was well qualified to help them find ways to “tweek” their marketing efforts to reach more people and gain a better return on investment.
The most important factor in your overall Los Angeles restaurant marketing success is your branding. If you are not putting out a consistent brand image across all marketing efforts, your marketing will fail. In today’s world where there are so many communication channels, this is even more important.
Branding begins with your own concept of what you wish to project. Your core values combined with and identification of who you client demographic is is essential. Then do your due diligence on what your competitors are doing, what’s working, what isn’t. But don’t copy them. That never works.
Think about what sets your restaurant apart. Is it a signature dish? An overall type of food. Is it organic food? Do you buy direct from local farmers? Do you visit and hand select your sources based on quality? Is the atmosphere a strong point? For example, a restaurant in Los Angeles operates out of an old refurbished railroad car and that is the draw that brings them in. Find the strongest point and work it into all of your marketing communications. See if you can work it into your name as well if you haven’t already chosen it.
Carefully consider your choice of colors for both your restaurant interior/exterior and your marketing materials. It isn’t just the aesthetics you’re concerned with. There’s a psychology of color and color actually influences how people react. If you have a healthier fare, or a plant based menu green colors could work very well. Greens are associated with healthy eating and natural foods. It’s also a relaxing and inviting color that will encourage people to come in, stay and want to return.
Beige, sand and white tones open up a space and make it seem bigger and more inviting. It can be a good choice in smaller spaces. Darker, rich wood tones are associated with luxury and more expensive dining.
Conversely some colors can cause customers to lose their appetite and even feel nauseous. I read about a restaurant once that saw a sharp decline in customers immediately after painting their walls blue. Bright reds and yellows make customers want to eat fast and leave. Great if you have a take-out restaurant. A bad choice otherwise.
Once you have your main colors selected, Adobe has created a wonderful tool for helping you decide the best complimentary colors for your accents.
Once you have a great understanding of your brand and who your client demographic is, then create the marketing materials. Your logo, website, menus, social media pages, business cards, shopping bags and food photography must all fit your brand.
Food photography is one of the most important components of your marketing. If your food photos don’t make the food look utterly delicious, they won’t come in. This is no place to cut corners. A good food photographer has all the tricks, technical experience and creativity to make your food look mouthwateringly delicious!
This is actually quite an art form. By the time the food gets to the table (or under the lights and camera) that steak isn’t going to look as juicy as when it first came off the grill. The butter pat has melted away into nothing. The syrup has soaked into the pancakes making them look soggy and unappetizing. A professional food photographer will show up with a full bag of tricks to remedy each of these situations.
A food photographer with experience will also know how to style the food, prop the “set” or table and compose the shot to make it perfectly fit the essence of the brand you’ve worked so hard to create.
Food videography is also a great marketing tool to help solidify your brand and bring in the customers. Food videos can be an interview with your chef that actually follows him through the preparation of a signature dish. They can show customers having fun enjoying your food, or be creative closeups of foods being plated, dipped in sauce, etc.
The best approach for a food video is to decide what you want to communicate, who you want to communicate it too and what action you want them to take. From there you work out the details of the video to accomplish it. Most often it will be a combination of all the examples above.
Contact us with any questions on your food photography and video needs. We will be happy to consult with you over the phone, or come into your Los Angeles restaurant and discuss ideas of how to make your food imagery enhance your brand.
Bookmark GourmetImagery.com and check back often. We will be offering more restaurant marketing tips on how to improve your visibility on the Internet, work social media and more.