It’s a whirlwind time to be a business owner in the food and drink industry. Whether running a restaurant, a food production facility, or a hyper-local artisanal foods enterprise, we are coming into an era when more and more Lebanese are changing the way they think about what they eat, drink, and feed their families.
What are corporate folks eating these days, and how do they choose their meals? Is it based on digital transparency?
BIM POS sits with Chef Leila Fethallah, Fatafeat exclusive chef, to know more about her newly launched business L Cuisine which caters to offices in Beirut, and how her success story as a Chef has gone hand in hand with Digital Marketing.
How do you evaluate Digital Food Marketing Trends Nowadays?
All of our interactions with food have become hyper-digital and socially shared. Photos and videos of prepared meals fill my Instagram and Facebook news feeds. Recently, I do rely very much on social media to promote my new launched catering company L Cuisine. I believe the more artfully and natural the media is, the more viral it goes.
So, you are saying that it holds a positive impact on your business?
Definitely, these food marketing trends have helped me get fun viral food videos underway or make creative recipes, but I believe it can also hurt our business’ reputation if it’s not handled correctly, or if one’s inner voice does not show to people. Faking marketing and social media interaction can be easily sensed by audience as they can feel it.
How do you promote L Cuisine?
I use promotions that very closely appeal to customers’ or audience’s emotions and the issues they care most about.
Tell us more about it?
My team and I reflect on audience needs; audience is mainly from the corporate world; for example we include tasting events for select kinds of foods, cooking demonstrations, the latest event was held in Kuwait. We also publicize for our lunch box as catering to specific requests like including items with less sugar, or sugar free…we are very flexible.
How do you make sure your content is relevant?
I use my business’ social media pages to address employees and employers who choose to eat from a healthy home-made lunch box. I know how they wish to have it. “They want a mama’s box at work.”
I emphasize on quality and affordability in my posts. In addition to the diet changes I advertise for (as less greasy, and less artificial material), my posts highlight affordable price that is $11.50/lunch box. It’s all about credibility and honesty I believe.
Does your food look like a supermodel; I mean does it have to be?
Actually I make sure it looks amazing. I don’t always need to hire a professional food photographer; sometimes a good eye, a sense of composition, and a smartphone or digital camera work miracles. I wasn’t that good in capturing photos; but with time I learned how to focus on bright colors and twists that will make the offering simple and appealing.
So tell us do you handle customer service digitally by yourself?
Yes off course I handle complaints myself; I love to hear people’s feedback. I respond directly to them digitally. Not only complaints, it is always my pleasure to welcome people, answer questions, and provide information. I try my best to be as authentic and proactive possible.
That being said, do you also learn from your audience online?
Off course, what people know is that I might be educating them about the food ground, through e-cookbooks, recipes, and video tutorials I share on Just Food TV for instance. But what they might not know is that I learn a lot from them as well. Viewer’s and participant’s responses are fulfilling. The best part is when I get the conversation cooking!
Each digital marketing strategy has a mission; what is yours?
I am very passionate about being family friendly, honest, and an upfront chef who communicates my concerns, successes, and struggles to my audience. I share the good news and the challenges I face whether in a short video, or a short story.
Like what did you do recently?
Recently I have shared a short video about my entrepreneurial journey, and how did I basically start. I thanked everyone who is following me and owed my success to them.
What is your future digital marketing plan?
To cook live with kids, nutrition experts, and with health coaches! I believe every one of them can add fun, education, and new concepts. Cooking is always an exchange! And in our digital world, people are attracted to what is new and what adds value to their lifestyle and food habits.
And her piece of advice on branding through digital marketing, Chef Leila says:
Start small, pick one tactic that appears easy to integrate into your daily operations, and go from there. In no time, your digital food marketing efforts will become regular, routine habits in your kitchen and you’ll be luring new customers in with your mouth-watering photos, videos, stories and promotions. Bon appétit!