Restaurants cook up new business with online ‘chef’ videos

According to a news report from, “For years, Restaurant Serenade’s website was essentially an online brochure, serving up menus, directions, recipes and, later, reservations. But about two years ago, James Laird, owner and chef of the Chatham, N.J., spot, sought to “give the recipes life” by producing cooking videos and uploading them to the site. While he hopes those tales on tape will lead to a cooking show, their practical purpose was to boost Serenade’s business, which turned out to be a successful effort.”

“These days the website draws 3,000 hits a month, and online dinner reservations have skyrocketed from two per month to 150. Overall business is up as well, and Laird says that customers stop him in the dining room to say, ” ‘I saw your video and I made that asparagus dish.’ It’s been great PR for the restaurant.” Meanwhile, as Quiznos’ vice president of culinary development, Zack Calkins has made dozens of training videos for the sandwich chain. So when the marketing team approached him about doing customer-centered cooking videos, they didn’t have to twist his arm,” said the story. “I really enjoy what I do, so anytime I get to stand in front of a camera and ramble on about food, I’m in,” says Calkins, whose “Chef Inspired Minute” videos are downloadable both at Quiznos’ website and through iTunes. To date, the videos have been downloaded 30,000 times.”

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