How to Double Your Restaurant Sales with YouTube
You may make the most delectable cinnamon roll ever in existence. Your fish tacos might taste so amazing that fish literally jump out of the ocean just to become a part of them. Perhaps your cheeseburger inspired Jimmy Buffet to write a song about it.
It doesn’t matter how good your food is at your restaurant. The only way to make more money is to get traffic through your front door.
Almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day, but only 9 percent of small businesses in the U.S. utilize this platform.
This article will tell you how to set up your own YouTube channel for your restaurant, how to shoot a video (even with your iPhone), how to share your video, and how to use your video to increase your restaurant point of sale.
How to set up a YouTube Channel for a restaurant
If you spend any time on YouTube, you will quickly discover that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to learn how to load videos on YouTube. In fact, it would be nice if there was an intelligence test required before a person could upload content, but I digress . . .
Since Google owns YouTube, start with a professional-sounding Google account. I would discourage you to use your personal account unless you know you are the only person who will ever be in charge of adding a video or responding to comments. You don’t want to have to share the password for your personal account with one of your employees.
So, to get started:
1. Create a Google account for your business. This can be done through google.com, or you can also do it at youtube.com.
2. Once you have signed in to your restaurant’s account, click on the gear icon to access your account settings.
3. Click on “Create a New Channel.”
4. Choose “Use a Business or Other Name.”
5. Add your restaurant name and click “Create.”
Next, fill in the “About” section of your channel. Tip: Reuse copy that has already been written for your menu or Yelp account.
If you have never written a description of your restaurant for other social media accounts, use this opportunity to write quality copy about your business. If you are not a writer, consider hiring a professional writer through Upwork. If you attempt this task yourself, please have others look at your content before your channel goes live.
Make sure to include your restaurant’s address, an interactive map, phone number, email address, and Open Table link in the About section of your YouTube Channel.
Add links to your restaurant’s website and social media accounts. Hopefully, these are active accounts with quality content. Hopefully, customers can send messages and interact with you through these accounts. Ideally, your menu is available through the accounts as well. If not, this is something you need to work on, but again, I digress . . .
Personalize your cover photo with an attractive picture of your restaurant. If you have professional shots of your glorious-looking food, use those. If you have a professional image of the inside or outside of your pristine restaurant, use those. Also, consider using the artwork on your menu. Whatever art you choose, make sure it looks professional.
How to shoot a quality video for your restaurant’s YouTube Channel
Understand that shooting a quality video takes planning and time. You will not be able to do this in a few hours. Before you begin, watch other restaurant videos for inspiration. There are some high-quality videos out there shot with nothing more than a cell phone.
Decide on your message. Does your restaurant have an interesting origination story? Do you want to teach potential diners about your type of unique food? Do you want to highlight specific menu items?
Hopefully, you will be covering all these topics at some point, but to start, focus on the message for your first video.
1. Write the script for your video. Read the text out loud to many people. Work on flow and pacing. If you have an accent, make sure it is neutral enough that people from other parts of the country can understand you.
2. Decide what music to use as a backup soundtrack. Pay attention to how the music lines up with the images.
3. Use a tripod while filming your video. Don’t think you can skip this step by “holding the phone still.” Tripods are inexpensive. Buy one.
4. Film your video in the highest quality available. HD video is best, but consider using 1920 x 1080 or at least 1280 x 720 to be taken seriously.
5. Search for free stock videos and images online. Don’t misrepresent your restaurant or food with images from other establishments, but you can use other images to take up time as you are reading your script.
6. Use iMovie to edit your video. Your video should be at least two minutes, but no more than five minutes in length. Customers will drop off if the video is too long and may miss your call to action at the end.
Pay particular attention to the images in the first 5-10 seconds of your video. If you don’t grab the attention of the viewer during those first moments, they will click off of it quicker than you can say “pizzeria.”
7. Make sure your restaurant looks welcoming and clean, and if food is shown, make sure it looks appetizing.
8. Format and compress your video for sharing. Use ClipChamp to expedite this process.
Before sharing your video, make sure the final segment includes a call to action. Ask your viewers to respond to the video by rating it or commenting on it. Ask customers to follow you on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Google+.
Ask customers to subscribe to your video channel. And naturally, ask customers to visit your restaurant today.
Even though your video may have taken hours to complete, and your blood, sweat, and tears went into its production, if it isn’t great, don’t use it. Instead consider contacting a local college to see if a marketing, journalism or film student is in need of a project. Hire the project out through social media or freelance websites like Upwork. A poorly-made video could do more harm than having no video at all.
Congratulations! The hard part is over.
Please have several people look at your video before you upload it to your YouTube Channel. One of my journalism professors in college once said, “read everything with a dirty mind.” This is advice worth heeding. Make sure there is not any content that could prove embarrassing when taken out of context.
Now you are ready to upload your video onto your YouTube Channel.
Some restaurateurs may wait until they have several videos completed before releasing the first one. This way you may be able to release a video each week without lag time in between.
How to upload a video to your restaurant’s YouTube Channel
1. Log into your restaurant’s YouTube Channel. Click the upload button on the upper right-hand corner of the page. It looks like an arrow pointing up.
2. Check your privacy settings. Make sure the video is either listed as “Public” or “Scheduled.” You may want to schedule the release of a video if you are coordinating it with a sale in your restaurant, or if your video is introducing a special event.
(As a side note, keep in mind that you can create training videos for your employees and invite individuals to watch them on YouTube. These videos can be marked unlisted or private.)
3. Sing a song while you watch your video upload onto your channel. Watch the progress on the status bar while you sing “Happy” or “If I Had a Hammer.” Those are my go-to songs while waiting.
4. Write a relevant and searchable title for your video. This title is important, as it is how your customers will find you online. Since you are writing about a specific restaurant, of course, include the location. Consider using titles like
• Strawberry pie in New York Financial District
• Best Thai restaurant in Toronto
• Best brunch in Boston
• Top rated lobster rolls in Maine
5. Use your business name to tag the video.
Consider using all forms of your business’ name (with a space between words, without a space between words, with punctuation and without). If your business name is commonly misspelled or misnamed, consider using those as additional tags for your video.
6. Write a description of your video consisting of keywords and your restaurant’s location.
Start searching for your topic on YouTube itself and see what pops up under a suggested search. Think about what people from out of town would search for online to find your restaurant.
7. Create a custom thumbnail for your YouTube video.
• Sign in to YouTube
• Go to Creator Studio/Video Manager
• Next to the video, click “Edit.”
• On the left of the preview screen, choose a thumbnail.
• Click “Save Changes.”
8. Add your website URL to the description of your video. For example, https://yoursitename.com.
How to use your YouTube Video to increase your restaurant’s business
You are now ready to share your video with the world! If it is a quality video and you are proud of it, share the heck out of it. Ask your employees to share the video on their personal social media accounts. Make a contest out of it. Whoever gets the most shares wins some cash!
Create a contest for customers. Offer a discount for customers who share the video on their social media accounts.
Share the video on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ pages. Use the video on your eCommerce website. Link your video with a Groupon for your restaurant. Link the video to your restaurant’s website.
Blog about your video. Write about the process of making the video and include a link to the finished product. Send the video to your past customers through their email. You are collecting their email address, right? Because you should be . . . But I digress . . .
Reach out to local bloggers. Offer them a discount to come to your restaurant. Ask them to share your video through their blog. Reach out to other businesses in the area to see if you can share promotion materials.
You’re not done yet!
Do not create one video, pat yourself on the back, and go back to the kitchen to make more pie. You are not finished! You have created a YouTube Channel, and now you need more videos to fill it. In fact, try to be consistent with your video productions. It may seem like a lot, but consider producing a video a week. The subject matters are limitless.
Consider making videos about
• Your local food sources
• Your restaurant’s history
• Meeting your chef
• Meeting the staff
• How to make one of your signature foods
• The history of your restaurant’s neighborhood
• How to make your signature drink
• Meeting your customers.
Besides continuing to produce videos, do not forget to monitor your YouTube account. Respond professionally to customers’ comments.
Since you went to all the work of producing a video, it may be helpful to track the success of this marketing tactic. Look on the bottom right of the video to see how many viewers you have. See how many people have responded either through liking or disliking the video or commenting. See how many people share the video.
In all matters involving your restaurant, keep it professional. When you respond to comments, make sure your text is grammatically correct. Run all your content through Grammarly. Proofread.
There are more restaurants than ever in the United States, but there are also more opportunities to reach out to customers like never before. Take advantage of all social media accounts to promote your restaurant. Or better yet, hire a media expert to work part-time for your business. That way, you will be able to spend your time making scones for your customers.
Test drive eHopper POS for free and see how it can help your business to improve operations and increase your restaurant sales.