Jon Thomas
Jon Thomas
Communications Director

Baking Brand Storytelling Into Your Lunch

Any restaurant is rich in stories, from the founding of the establishment to the experiences of its patrons. Because of that, the restaurant business is an interesting venue for content marketing, social media and brand storytelling. 

I like to think that the best part about going out to eat, particularly with friends, isn’t the food (though don’t get me wrong; I adore food). It’s the stories we share and the stories we create. It’s like the times spent with my wife reviewing our plate of nachos in hopes that someday we’ll cull all those reviews into a blog just about nachos (though that’s a whole other story). It’s the times spent with friends catching up and reminiscing about old times.

Restaurants have a unique opportunity to tap into brand storytelling, and there’s a restaurant in the U.K. doing just that. 

An Irani Dish With a Side of Story

Dishoom is a Bombay-style café that takes its roots and stories very seriously. So seriously, actually, that they’re baked into its dishes. Since Dishoom is an Irani café (an Iranian- or Persian-style café in India) that holds tight to the traditions of 19th-century Bombay, it wanted to capture people’s experiences at other old Irani cafés.

“Irani cafés of Bombay were eating, meeting and drinking places for people from all communities where rich lawyers could find themselves drinking chai next to sweaty taxi-wallahs,” reads its website. “This melting pot was where stories began.”


The campaign started with 80 plates into which were baked personal stories of Irani cafés as recalled by the older generation in Bombay and the U.K., according to Adweek. Now visitors to the site also have the option of sharing their stories and even designing their own plates! The best stories and designs are chosen and added to the collection of plates.

The effort is unique and memorable, but most importantly, it’s talkable. Patrons will share the unique elements of the Irani café with their friends. I’m thousands of miles away and, even having never been there, I’m sharing it with you.

Serving Up Fresh Content

Dishoom’s commitment to brand storytelling and content marketing doesn’t stop at the creative story-driven plates. It consistently creates content on its beautiful blog, which features vibrant imagery and articles (once or twice a month) on topics such as Bombay, design, events, food, heritage and life at Dishoom.

Even when you first land on Dishoom’s website, you’re greeted with storytelling. The top of the website (and a good majority of the content above the fold) is dedicated to a horizontally scrolling montage of photos depicting a day at Dishoom. From a cup of chai at 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. dinner and tipples and nibbles after dark, the visitor to the site is given every reason to stop by Dishoom anytime, day or night.

Dishoom’s Facebook and Twitter presences are engaging and on brand and boast quite respectable fan/follower counts (both more than 6,000), considering Dishoom’s small geographic footprint (just two small cafés).

The Brand Takeaway

You don’t have to run a restaurant to learn from Dishoom. Its commitment to content and storytelling can be applied to any brand. We’ve seen a number of other lesser-known brands make this commitment and reap the rewards, notably Warby Parker and Hiut Denim.

Dishoom has unearthed its brand story and found innovative ways, both online and off-, to express various chapters of that story along the customer journey. As one follows its digital footprints into the physical store, its strong culture and history are omnipresent, creating an emotional connection to the guest. 

Dishoom is memorable and talkable and fosters a community atmosphere that keeps guests engaged (online) and coming back for more (offline). It provides customers with conversations—something to tell their friends long after they leave the restaurant—and it’s conversations that drive action. Or as our CEO, Kirk Cheyfitz, would say, “It’s the conversations, stupid.”

Which other brands have you seen that have this type of commitment to storytelling?