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Culinary Creatives

Have chefs always been the resident creatives in restaurants? Since social media happened, they’ve had to make room for another breed of culinary creatives—the digital kind. In this year’s list of Rising Stars, we’re calling them Art + Craft and in today’s business world, you really can’t live without them.

The handful of art, media, branding, and marketing all-stars we’ve collected will tell you far better than I—your restaurant needs a digital strategy. You can get it firsthand from them on Page 46, but I will still give you my perspective.

The social media landscape has changed significantly in the past year alone. Before I started editing FSR, I was making viral recipe videos for Facebook. But the popularity of that content on that platform largely does not exist compared to the way it did at that time. Videos that once got 40 million views are garnering 4 million. What were those views anyway if not manufactured by Facebook? In the last year we’ve learned that Facebook can manufacture a lot of things. If there’s one thing your restaurant’s digital team needs, it’s the agility to adapt, with optimism, to the whim of the social media zeitgeist.

As temperamental as it sounds, the bottom line is, it’s necessary. Whether it’s a necessary good or evil is in the eye of the beholder and we can disagree there—but the fact that doesn’t change is that you can’t do your business well without a social media presence of some kind. So choose wisely.

If you’ve been reading my letters since I started at FSR, or following the magazine’s own social media evolution, my next piece of advice will come as no surprise. Choose Instagram. Here’s why.

Instagram has more than 1 billion users. And while you’re going to need your team to monitor your reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, Trip Advisor, and even Facebook, those aren’t the platforms where you’ll tell your brand’s stories. Instagram is.

The experts in this year’s Rising Stars list will tell you time and time again that with consumers today, there’s nothing more powerful than a brand. Take this free platform, hire some culinary creatives, and build yours. You’ll find it drives traffic and your reputation in a way that traditional marketing strategies no longer can.

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