Using your Virality To Make Your Small Business Explode: Social Media Hacks From The Movie “Chef”

Algorithms keep updating and modifying to further enhance the delivery of correct, relevant and important information for users all around the world. At the same time, they are trying to continue to eliminate any sort of black-hat key-word-stuffing shenanigans. People naturally try to outsmart search engines by looking for ways to beat their algorithms when, in reality, all they have to do is to provide what the people wants to see.


People that work online need to know what, when and where a “buzz” is, then use it to their advantage. Anything that’s relevant will surely survive any sort of updates or changes online.

Before we go on though, I’m going to straight up tell you that these next few lines will have a few spoilers from the movie “Chef”. And shame on you if you still have not seen it since Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlet Johansson’s in it.


*Oh and Dustin Hoffman’s in it too, as well as John Leguizamo.


In the movie, Jon Favreau, (the Chef) is forced to prepare a menu that he believes, is not really good. An infamous food critic then gets a sample of the dishes then “rips him apart” on his blog and on Twitter, saying that the food wasn’t great. Jon Favreau’s character then loses temper and then mistakenly Tweets an offensive message (which I will not include here) to the Critic, thinking it was a private message. This online squabble further ensues when he challenges the Critic to come down to the restaurant to get a sample of the kind of food Jon Favreau’s character can really prepare.



However, the owner of the place (Dustin Hoffman) refuses and demanded the staff to cook what they normally cook every night. Jon’s character then quits, and the critic then still got served with the normal food which he wasn’t fond of.


Jon’s character then loses credibility because of this after the critic Tweets an update of him not showing up. Jon Favreau’s character then went storming in on the critic at the restaurant after reading the Tweet. His fit at the restaurant was then filmed by the customers, which then went viral online and further bringing him down to shame.


After a while though his passion for Cooking never went away. He then eventually got a food truck which gave him complete freedom to cook dishes that are really tasty. The Chef’s co worker (John Leguizamo) then joins them in this sort of “mini-start-up” biz, as well as the Chef’s son.



The Chef’s son in the film (Emjay Anthony), has the crystal clear makings of a cunning social media master. He uses his father’s rather sudden notoriety as a solid driving force to make a viral campaign online for their Food Truck business. This part then shows how he cleverly utilized social media and viral content to their advantage:


Twitter: Returning To The Battleground

In the film he uses his phone (definitely an iPhone. They like using Apple products on movies) to Tweet photos and videos and mostly updates of where they were currently in America since they agreed to travel on the road to sell the Chef’s sandwiches on different states.


The Chef’s recent scandalous past has made him somewhat of an “online celebrity”. So when his son Tweets an update that included his father’s username on it, it quickly goes viral. People then started to notice that this “crazy chef” is travelling though cities via food truck and is selling really good Cuban Sandwiches. (with Yucca Fries of course.) Everyone online instantly wanted to see this Chef. They were searching for him. They wanted to check out what was the buzz all about.


For some people that get bashed online, the first thing they think about to try to clean the mess on their hands is to delete or deactivate their accounts. But in the movie, they used it to their advantage. The Chef’s  twitter account gained more than 20,000 followers over night ever since he “accidentally” tweets profanities to the Food Critic. If I was one of the audience/followers on twitter, I will be curious too. “Why would you not be interested on a person you’ve followed online?” -that’s the idea.


Location Location Location

There was a scene on the movie that they just parked on a street somewhere in New Orleans. The street was nearly empty, the Food truck even blends with the neighbourhood. Basically no one knows they’re there. The Chef and his son then decided to take a walk for a while and take a father and son quality time. However, before the two walked away, the boy takes a picture of the Food truck and the street they’re parked on then tweet’s it. Complete with their current location.


A few minutes later, after having some snacks, the Father and son returns to the street where they were parked and were surprised to find out that behind the truck was a long line of people just waiting for them to cook and buy all their sandwiches.


Once you’ve established yourself online, it’ll be easier, and in this example quicker for people to notice where you are. Especially when your posts include your current location. For a small business that travels around like a food truck, doing this has such high benefits.


As the film progressed, we then get a sense of how they’ve slowly turned the negative image of the Chef into a new and positive viral sensation. Their newly mended online virulence soon caught up with the Food Critic that bashed him online. And so, as an act of peace, the Critic then offers to finance him and give the Chef a place where he could build a restaurant.


In the end, we see here a great example of how to properly utilize every online channels to the advantage of a business or campaign. Even using bad press to its advantage.