The use of social media by René Redzepi and his Noma Mexico team was a masterclass in how a restaurant can use social media to document its story and intrigue hundreds of thousands of followers who can never make it to visit the restaurant not only because of logistics and cost but also because it would be impossible to cater for so many people.
Noma Mexico took a year of planning to come into fruition and existed for just seven weeks but it involved building a 32-metre long kitchen and settling 145 staff members including spouses and children.
But what was most striking was not necessarily the reviews of the food that was created using the produce the team found in Tulum, Mexico, but rather the creative use of social media and in particular Instagram. Redzepi used both his private account as well as the restaurant account to document the seven week journey using the Instagram feed as well as the Stories feature giving viewers a unique glimpse of what happened in the background both before and after service and also during service.
With 490,000 followers on Instagram, Redzepi made a choice to use Instagram first as his social media platform. He also has 215,457 likes on Facebook. The Noma profile on Instagram has 363,000 followers.
Redzepi used the Instagram platform in two ways. He added videos and photos to the Instagram feed. He also shared the same content, although less frequently on his Facebook page. He explained the ingredients and took shots of the unique produce that the restaurant was able to work with.
On the other hand, he used the Instagram feature, Stories, which enables followers to view what was happening during a 24 hour period before it disappeared for good. Using this feature we got to see what was happening behind the scenes. We were introduced to members of staff both when they were seriously working and also in lighter moments either during breaks from work or after service.
The dishes served were sometimes depicted but this was not the point behind the work that Redzepi and his team did with social media. They preferred to document the story behind their experience in Mexico and that is what made the experience so unique and authentic.
The pictures of the food that was served was left to the guests to share. What Redzepi was interested in was in experimenting with social media and showing that this can be used not just to show the dishes being served in a restaurant but rather to tell the story of the place, of the ingredients and of the people behind the story. That he used Instagram as his main social media platform is also interesting given the competition there is for attention among the different social media platforms but with that number of followers he was on to a winning strategy.
It is interesting to continue to follow Redzepi and to see how he will use social media as he reopens Noma this summer in a new location with new facilities and a new concept if things go according to plan.
The restaurant will include an urban farm which will give Redzepi and his team ultimate control over all processes ‘from farm to fork’.
With his clever use of social media, he has clearly raised the bar for restaurants and chefs in the business. His task was made easy by the fact that he has a significant amount of followers. To sustain the work carried out by Redzepi and his team requires time and also resources.
While this is something that few restaurants can afford, the long term result and impact could not only be interesting but also lucrative for this chef who can today be considered as a media brand in his own right.
The restaurant, in Tulum, Mexico ran for seven weeks and was open till May 27. The outdoor open-air restaurant was nestled between the jungle and the Caribbean Sea in Tulum.