When Facebook changed its News Feed algorithm to give precedence to video, it essentially changed how media was consumed on the website.
Media companies started pushing more and more money into video content which turned into something wonderful: food recipe videos.
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Filmed from a bird’s eye view of a kitchen counter, the videos propagated by companies like Buzzfeed with its Tasty pages are worlds away from the classic chef programmes that populate TV.
However, videos of this type have reached such popularity that one Facebook page, Twisted, created by the social media company Jungle Creations, is now opening its own takeaway restaurant so that its Facebook fans can enjoy the food it makes in the comfort of their own homes.
The idea behind the new restaurant, according to founder and owner of Jungle Creations Jamie Bolding, is to make it possible for Twisted’s fans to have the ultimate social media food experience.
“The desire was that in an ideal world you could watch a video, then put your hand into the screen and pull out the food and eat it,” he tells Verdict.
That not being possible, the logical step was to create the Twisted Food takeaway restaurant.
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Fans of Twisted can order different items of food from the menu from delivery companies UberEats or Deliveroo as long as they live within a two-mile radius on the restaurant, which is based in Aldgate East, London. “This is quite small,” admits Balding.
“However, all we’re trying to do with this one restaurant is prove a concept. If we can do that, the aim is to roll out early next year and cover every area in London.
“Once we’ve covered London, we will cover Manchester, Leeds and roll out to the US.”
The plans sound very ambitious for a social media company that has no formal restaurant experience. Balding has hired a team of 10 to run the restaurant which will make the food, whilst Twisted’s social team will continue to make the social media videos.
And the team feel confident that the restaurant will be a success, due to Twisted’s social media power. The initial Twisted Facebook page launched in early 2016 and now has nearly 8m likes on Facebook. “We have 300m people watching out videos every month on the Twisted page and then over 150,000 of our likes on Facebook are from London,” says Balding. When Twisted does branded content, creating food videos for brands, it can charge up to £20,000 per video and guarantees at least 1m views. This is how Jungle Creations has been able to grow so fast.
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So what’s the menu like? Twisted London’s food menu is similar to one of the UK’s biggest food trends: dirty burgers. For instance, there is the Hot Swayze, a brioche bun burger encasing ghost chilli buffalo drenched buttermilk chicken, bacon rach slaw and blue cheese sauce.
Balding describes it as “food porn” and each dish on the menu has its own “twist”. His favorites are the Caesar Fries — what would happen if you swapped lettuce for fries in a Caesar salad.
“However, we have a mix of vegan, vegetarian, rice pots and salads. This makes sure we’re catering to our broad audience. Whilst also staying true to our roots with the twisted dishes.”
Once Jungle sees how the Twisted takeaway works out, it has plans to bring its other social media pages offline too.
“We want to have more interaction with our audience. We’ve built this up over three years across our channels. They share content, we message them and there’s good communication there. But we think the next stage is always to take it offline and have that real life, face-to-face experience.”
There could even be potential for Twisted dine-in restaurants too, which Balding says are “In the plans”. For now, however, the focus is on Twisted London.
“And I’m excited, really excited to start selling some food,” says Balding.
Jungle Creations’ Twisted London takeway launches today (13 November) on UberEats and Deliveroo. See Twisted London’s Facebook page for all the details.