Capture astonishing food presentations, friendly service and live excitement to reach Internet audiences by producing hospitality videos. Videos allow restaurateurs and hospitality business owners to captivate and enchant audiences with great food, stunning locations and creative marketing. Restaurants can also use videos to automate training, which allows employees to watch and review instructional videos at their convenience.

Video Ideas for Restaurants

Use short videos to demonstrate recipes, show a restaurant at its best or explore attractions near the business for travel blogs. Hospitality companies can use videos to train staff or engage people on websites, YouTube and other social media networks. Ideas for videos may include:

  • Reaching new prospects for restaurants, bars and hospitality companies
  • Showing food, behind-the-scenes operations or interior décor
  • Expanding services, selling merchandise or explaining catering options
  • Visiting local suppliers, wineries or farms involved with sustainable sourcing
  • Improving communications and staff instruction
  • Strengthening search engine optimization and restaurant branding
  • Filming brief reviews or customer testimonials
  • Showcasing events or charitable initiatives
  • Producing ads for various media outlets
  • Crafting video menus for mobile marketing
  • Using out-of-the-box thinking to engage audiences

Setting Goals for Producing a Video

Setting clear goals helps to focus efforts and should include short- and long-term objectives. Use the SMART acronym formula to set video goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Define the marketing objectives, ensure that the business has tools to measure responses, set a budget, estimate the time needed for writing a script and producing the video, make sure that the goals and budget are realistic and plan a shooting, editing and posting schedule.

Branding and Ethical Issues

Branding a restaurant depends on producing videos that appeal to the restaurant’s cuisine and dining style. Casual or unconventional videos might deliver the wrong image for formal restaurants. Savvy managers plan video campaigns carefully as part of well-rounded promotional campaigns.

The Federal Trade Commission requires truth in advertising, and companies must be able to back their claims. Background music that plays while filming might result in copyright issues. The issue seldom comes up in YouTube postings but might become significant during an extensive advertising campaign. If planning to use videos in multiple high-traffic promotions, consult a lawyer about possible legal issues.

Some ethical issues might arise about exaggerated claims, subliminal advertising or deceptive information. Hospitality venues want to portray their operations in the best way, but be careful not to deceive. Focus on positive aspects of foods or operations to balance any negative aspects without misleading people.

Cost and Quality Tradeoffs

Video marketing, like Hollywood films, has many levels of quality, so managers must decide whether to approach filming in an amateur or professional way. Both methods work well in certain forums, so setting goals and a budget is necessary.

Don’t try to make an amateur video into a professional presentation—it will look like an amateurish job. If making an amateur video, poke fun at the budget, working conditions or camera operator to humanize the piece and engage the audience.

Costs of producing videos depend on time, talent and tools. Talented actors, photographers, production people and writers cost more money but deliver higher quality. Choose the level of quality that is right for the video’s intended use.

  • Amateur
    Do-it-yourself videos are inexpensive and fast but could erode credibility. However, these videos could be perfect for internal training or offbeat videos targeting urban hipsters or young people.
  • Professional
    Using a professional team delivers advantages that include consistent, high-quality productions. Expect costs of $1,000 to $3,000 for producing a 2–3 minute video.
  • Premium
    Using top talent and professional editing effects can win awards, generate buzz and brand a restaurant positively but expect to pay from $5,000 to $50,000 per video.

Videos make powerful impressions, and people retain visual memories longer than reading information. Film a video to promote a restaurant, bar or hospitality venue at its best, or explore the quirky, human side of operations to engage potential customers. Plan for success by setting goals and fine-tuning the message to produce clear, pithy and enchanting videos to jump-start online marketing, expand services or increase staff productivity.