Serving Up Conversions: How to Create the Perfect Video Sales Letter for Your Restaurant

Video marketing through social media opens up a world of opportunities for restaurants to grow their brands and bring new customers through their doors. Food-related content has been a staple of social media since its inception, as it brings users closer to a world of exciting dishes than ever before. While it gives restaurants the chance to connect with their target market in unprecedented ways, it also introduces new competition, from other local restaurants to world-class chefs to viral home cooks.

With so many tantalizing options vying for any given viewer’s attention, it can be difficult to make your restaurant stand out. This is where video sales letters (VSLs) come in: a modernized form of the traditional sales letter, VSLs are both informative and entertaining, making them a perfect vehicle for grabbing people’s attention and turning clicks into conversions. Due to their flexibility and effectiveness, VSLs are widely used by companies across all industries, and their brand-boosting powers are just as potent for those in the restaurant business.

Following is the recipe for a five-star VSL for your restaurant:

Craft an Engaging Hook

 When it comes to catching people’s attention with video, every single second counts. If your VSL does not engage the viewer within the first three to five seconds, there’s a good chance that they will go on scrolling in search of more exciting or interesting content. The secret to creating a good hook is to create feelings of disbelief, excitement, or intrigue in the viewer. Beginning your VSL with a perfectly curated shot of your signature dish or a surprising fact about your restaurant will interrupt the viewer’s normal scrolling habits and get them to keep watching your VSL, which is the first step to getting them inside your restaurant’s front door. 

Showcase a Dish or Recipe

Your food is ultimately the star of the show, and it deserves to take center stage. VSLs give you the perfect opportunity to combine words and images in a way that truly tantalizes the viewer. Studies have shown that the effective use of descriptive adjectives on menus (e.g., rich, zesty, delicate, etc.) engage the customer’s senses, making the dish more appealing. Layering these evocative words over images and action shots of your food can activate your viewer’s appetite, causing them to crave your dishes. 

Tell Your Story

 In addition to showing off your culinary delights, VSLs also give you a unique opportunity to connect with your audience on a level that goes beyond what’s on the plate. Telling your founder’s or head chef’s story, giving viewers an exclusive behind-the-scenes look into your kitchen, or highlighting your relationships with local suppliers and the broader community can also be an extremely powerful draw. This approach can not only bring in customers, but can turn customers into regulars by making them feel more personally attached to your brand. 

Announce Promotions and Events

 Restaurant goers love special deals, promotions, and limited-time offers. VSLs are one of the best ways to quickly stir up excitement and get the word out about these events. Using a VSL to announce a promotion or an event gives you a natural hook, making it especially effective at grabbing people’s attention. Moreover, these kinds of promotions are equally good at drawing in new customers and encouraging returning customers to come back and take advantage of the offer.

Finish with a Dall to Action

One of the great powers of the VSL is its ability to include calls to action and links that viewers can click on to make a purchase. Closing the gap between inspiring them to make a purchase and giving the tools to follow through with it helps you achieve more reliable conversions. Including a link to your restaurant’s app or website and allowing viewers to reserve a table or even order delivery or takeout right away can help you get direct ROI from your video.

Effective VSLs tend to share a few common elements, and these elements remain fairly consistent across different industries. Studying the great VSL campaigns of the past and adapting them in a way that allows your restaurant’s uniqueness to shine through can help you break through the noise of social media and truly separate yourself from the competition. Moreover, with the advent of platforms such as ChatGPT, you can leverage the power of AI to create consistently profitable campaigns by taking a winning formula–a perfect recipe, so to speak–and creating subtle adaptations to fill different niches. 

VSLs are often cheap to make, and can have a transformative effect on your business. Strategically sharing your VSLs on your website landing page, through social media, or via other paid advertising channels can not only increase exposure, but lead directly to conversions. In an industry as crowded and competitive as the restaurant business, a single VSL campaign can be the major differentiator between your brand and the rest.