Abed Agha

Future-Proof Your F&B Business: Tap Into the Creator Economy

Did you know that for every dollar a business dedicates to influencer marketing, they get $5.20 in return? That’s a whopping 5x in ROI!

If you’re still on the fence about using influencer marketing for your Food and Beverage business despite the stats, it’s understandable. 

If you’re not careful, you could end up being burnt and your resources taken advantage of. You might have already been there.

There is no shortage of horror stories from business owners who are disappointed with the influencers they worked with. 

But there are F&B businesses that know how to leverage the creator economy in lucrative ways.

Case in point: opening a restaurant in traditional ways can range between $175,500 to $750,000. Tapping creators to help you jump-start your restaurant online can be 25 times cheaper.

With the latter, you don’t have to spend on kitchen staff, real estate costs, the operational processes, the full menu, and so on.

To bail on influencer marketing before you can even properly use this powerful marketing strategy is also an injustice to your business.

And it’s more than just working with Instagram and TikTok influencers to film themselves while eating your food — it’s beyond this.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

The F&B evolution is bright, dark, and virtual

The pandemic has forever changed the way we shop for food.

At a time when people were isolated in their homes, and prohibited from physical interaction outside, we relied on food delivery apps to feed ourselves.

Partnering with food delivery services such as Uber Eats, Door Dash, and Grubhub allowed restaurants to save their sinking businesses.

Even before food delivery apps, a simple mention on social media by a satisfied customer has done wonders for a restaurant’s local exposure.

Then, there’s the rise of dark kitchens.

Dark kitchens —  also called cloud kitchens or virtual kitchens or ghost kitchens) — are commercial kitchens that only produce food for delivery. They don’t have dining areas or pickup points for customers.

All these have drastically lowered the barriers to entry for aspiring food entrepreneurs.

| Although the F&B industry was hit hard, it rallied. They turned the misfortune into this massive opportunity that will forever change the restaurant landscape.

Exciting, isn’t it?

But these are just basic ideas. Here’s the rest of our roadmap to scaling your Food and Beverage business with the creator economy.

4 ways F&B Businesses can partner with creators

With good branding, mouth-watering visuals of your menu, and an engaged local audience, you’re sure to get the right attention for your food business.

The right creator collaboration strategy will drive an even higher ROI for your business. 

1. Creator-led restaurants (powered by dark kitchens)

The dark kitchen concept has no doubt revolutionised the way startup restaurateurs operate their food businesses.

Traditional restaurants are costly. You have to choose a prime location, build an efficient team, and create a fully functional kitchen complete with processes. It can be an uphill struggle for newbies not only in budget but also the daily operation.

| From this need and gap, virtual kitchens (or dark kitchens) were born.

Think of dark kitchens as fully functional cookeries that only serve food through partner delivery apps. No catering or in-house fine dining, just order out.

The first well-known content creator to launch a food business using the dark kitchen concept was Mr. Beast with his signature MrBeast Burger.

Its grand opening attracted over 10,000 people to show support for his first food venture.

It seems far-fetched, but work has been done before this. He previously launched in hundreds of cities through a dark kitchen and that has fueled his “overnight” success.

Want to launch a new food concept minus half the hassle of a physical storefront? The Dark kitchen is for you!

2. Co-creating signature dishes 

Co-creating signature dishes is undoubtedly a step up from good ole’ influencer marketing.

Aside from sampling and promoting local cuisines, restaurants or even fresh produce supermarkets can now partner up with local influencers to create signature menus.

A good example is how Spinneys Lebanon, a grocer giant partnered with  DaddyFoody, a well-known Food Blogger and cooking show master operating in Lebanon, to create his signature burger dish.

3. Classic influencer marketing

The most common form of influencer marketing strategy is to plug a local restaurant in exchange for free food, discounts, or a certain fee.

A restaurant can reach out to a local Food and Beverage influencer for a promotion. It could also be the other way around, an influencer reaching out to local restaurants.

Once the details are settled, the influencer will sample the menu and create content from it to be posted either on their Instagram or TikTok profiles.

Establish a branded guideline and particular content you’d like to work on with the content creator. This way, you’ll have clear expectations of the deliverables such as images and videos.

Below are two examples of local influencers sampling local restaurants around New York City and mentioning them on their Instagram profiles

Hot tip: When choosing an influencer, check out their profile to see how engaged their audience is. Determine if they have a sizable local following that can readily visit your location.

Use Sociata to determine data on your chosen influencer including content performance and audience engagement.

4. Embracing the creator economy life

Social media is one powerful tool in shaping and influencing people’s lifestyles.

This fact should be maximized and turned into opportunities to drive new streams of income.

Dieticians and Fitness instructors are also cashing on in the creator economy waves. Those who have sizable followings are now launching their food menus and cookbooks.

Dr. Hazel Wallace, the woman behind The Food Medic, is a medical doctor and nutritionist. She has over 500k followers on Instagram, has published a book, and is hosting a podcast talking about clean eating, gut health, and even mental health.

Dr. Megan Rossi runs theguthealthdoctor on Instagram. She is a Ph.D. & Research Fellow, a columnist in the DailyMail, and has published several best-selling books among others.

F&B Business + Creator Economy = Success

Naysayers may have their negative opinion but numbers don’t lie. The creator economy is no longer about vanity alone.

It’s a powerful way to promote social selling and influence the consumer behavior of your target audience.

If you own a food business (or hoping to have one), now is the right time to choose a co-creator for your brand and market to locals. 

If you’d like a more hands-on approach for better quality control, then you can take the influencer marketing route yourself. It will benefit your business even better. This might take a while though.

| F&B Businesses and creators — it’s a new recipe for success!

Ready to future-proof your business and work with local influencers? Start by verifying their data and performance for free using Sociata.

Getting bogus influencers with poor audience engagement unrelated to your business is the last thing you’ll worry about with our influencer marketing platform!

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