How to Shoot Good Product Video on Your Phone

Shooting with your phone is the easiest way to capture product or process video to use in ExpandShare.  Here is a quick guide to getting the most of your phone’s video capabilities.

Shoot Horizontal

First -- when shooting video with a phone, make sure you hold your phone horizontally. This will ensure that your video has a higher resolution and will display properly on TVs and computer monitors.


Next, use a tripod or some other method to stabilize your phone to reduce camera shake. Camera shake can be distracting and lowers the quality of video. There are adaptors for attaching an iPhone to a tripod. However, if you don’t have a tripod -- don’t worry -- handheld footage will work. Just make sure to:

  • Use your body to move the phone instead of just moving your hand or arm -- this will help avoid shake, and

  • Keep the phone close to your body.

  • Or, rest your elbows on a hard surface to capture smooth movements.


Be aware of what’s in the background -- you want to make sure it goes along with your product. And, make sure the area is clean and not too busy so the product stands out from the background and doesn’t get lost in it.

Make sure your product is well lit -- this will help keep your video from looking grainy. If you don’t have access to expensive lights, find a room with natural lighting, like near a window. Or, use a desk lamp to provide more light.

Then, use the phone to make small lighting fixes. Tap on the screen to select your focal point and adjust the brightness. If you tap and hold, it locks the focus and brightness which keeps it from automatically refocusing due to natural lighting changes.

Extra Tips/DOs and DON’Ts

  • Don’t use the pinch zoom function on your phone. It creates grainy, and lower quality footage. Instead, physically move your camera closer to the subject when you need close up shots.

  • Make sure the lens is clean by using a microfiber cloth to remove fingerprints or dirt that may make the footage appear blurry.

  • Have an extra hand to help show the use of the product so the viewer can better understand it, and last,

  • Quality footage can make your product stand out from the rest.


The Easiest Way to Create a Simple Restaurant Menu Training

Training on your menu does not have to be complicated. All the tools you need are right on your phone.  Check out this video on how to do it.


Tools needed

  • An iPhone with iMovie installed
  • Your menu item
  • Talking points or a quick script


  • Take a picture (or video) of your item
  • Write your script
  • Open the image in iMovie
  • Record the voiceover
  • Adjust the image to match the video lenght
  • Publish to your Files
  • Upload to ExpandShare to share with your team


The Finished Product

Learn more about how ExpandShare RestaurantReady can help you train your team and make  you successful.

How to Make Restaurant Training Videos: A Beginner's Guide


Why Video?

Video is the best medium for restaurant training, hands-down. It's engaging and informative. It can teach fundamental concepts, cultural beliefs and it's the next best thing to live training for showing hands-on skills. Think cooking show.  

Using video as part of your training can help increase your employees’ retention of new information by more than 50%.  And 98% of companies surveyed in a recent study said they plan to use video as a key component of their online training.

But many owners and managers are intimidated by video. Beginners say, "I can't be on-screen, it will look terrible! I don't want to embarrass myself in front of my staff"  Or, "I don't have the right equipment and software to make it look professional."

Never fear, intrepid reader.  There are easy ways to create videos without the worry.  

Voice-Over PowerPoint

Did you know that you can create videos without a camera?  It's true.  You can create voiced-over slide presentations right from PowerPoint and Keynote using the built in microphone on your laptop or desktop computer.  With this technique you can create basic training programs that incorporate text and pictures on screen with you narrating and explaining the content. This is an easy to way to teach fundamentals.  But, it's not terribly engaging.

Video Capture: The One Tool You Need

If you're looking to shoot some video to show people or action, then you need a camera. But with the quality of today's built-in cameras, your phone is the only thing you really need. YouTube is full of great looking videos shot with nothing more than a phone.  You can do it too.  

There are some other nice-to-haves, and we'll mention those as we go.  But first, let's talk about the three types of quick-start videos you might want to create.

Hosted Narration

Tools needed:  Phone, Teleprompter phone app (optional)

Think news anchor. In this style of video the host is looking at the camera and speaking directly to the audience. In the professional world, they are often using a teleprompter.  And you can too!  There are a bunch of phone teleprompter apps that will allow you to read from the screen while capturing yourself from the selfie camera on your phone.  

Use hosted narration for videos where you want a personal connection to your audience.  For example, a welcome video, or a video that discusses your company culture.

Narrated Point-of-View (POV) Video

Tools needed: Phone, Earbuds (optional), Basic Editing Software (optional)

In this style of video, narration is voiced over a video showing something happening on screen.  

In the world of professional training videos, the narration is captured first and then the video is timed to the narration in the video editing software.  However, you can shoot this type of video and narrate as you go, OR you can shoot the clip and add the voice-over after the fact in a basic editing software.  If you can, use the earbuds and microphone that came with your phone for better sound quality.

Acted Scene with Voiceover

Tools needed: Phone, Basic Editing Software, External Microphone (optional)

In this type of video, actors act out a scene as  you capture it.  This is the most sophisticated type of video to create and requires extra levels of professionalism, especially if you are trying to act out real-world conversations.  

If you need to show an interaction between people, it's often easier to capture the video of the people performing the tasks and then replace the sound track with a "Voice of God" narration over the video describing what the actors are doing.  For example, a server greeting a table would have the narrator explaining what is happening and how the process should work.

Where are you going to get your actors and actresses?  They're right there on your staff!

Some Basic Investments in Video Tools

If you are getting better at creating videos and want to take the next step in quality,  there are a few not-that-expensive tools to consider investing in.

A Teleprompter App

As we mentioned earlier, a good phone teleprompter app will make it easier to do narration-style videos.

An LED light

A basic LED field light costs less than $50 and can really help you improve the lighting of all three types of videos.  

A Quality Microphone

Grab a microphone that can plug right into the headphone jack of your camera and your laptop.  You can also spend a bit more and get a desktop mic to use for narration.

A Tripod and Steady Grip for your Phone

For the best results with your Phone cameras, get a tripod and/or steady grip accessory.  One that allows you to mount a basic external mic and a light is a bonus!

Simple Video Editing Software

You’re going to need some editing tools to make your training masterpiece look professional level.  Free software is included with most computers nowadays, tools like iMovie allow you to do basic editing, text on screen and editing of the audio tracks.  Work your way up to more professional tools as you get better.

Good luck on your video journey! And don't get intimidated. With a little practice, your videos will be effective and look great!  

You'll need a place to share your videos with your team and, if you're doing training, track their progress.  ExpandShare Restaurant Ready is the easy way to do that!

Remember if you're already an customer, our concierge team is standing to help you get your videos in top notch shape for your staff.


Teach to your Menu: Creating Product Training in ExpandShare

Product knowledge is key to selling in any industry, but it's particularly important in food service.  It might seem like a huge challenge to create effective training for your staff on your own, but it's really pretty darn easy.  

The goal is to create a collection of valuable content that you can send to your team. The key to accomplishing this is to keep it simple. Start with one menu item — like today’s featured appetizer.  You don't have to create your whole collection at once!

Make a sample of the feature appetizer. Make sure they pay close attention to plate presentation and making it look appealing.

Take a Photo

Now, using your smartphone, take a picture of the product.  This will be used as the preview that users see. 

Here are some tips for achieving the best results:

  • Use landscape mode
  • Make sure there's enough light
  • Choose the right angle:
    • 3/4 Angle: If it's important to see both the side and top view
    • Straight On: Where you want to show all the ingredients in a stack, like a burger or pancakes
    • Overhead: To show a visual of what's on a plate

Make a Disposable Video

Next, you’re going to make what we call a disposable video. This is a short, simple video that will give an overview of the dish. It should be no more than 2 minutes long. Again, keep it simple. Do it in a single take, or at most, two takes. No tripod needed and it does not have to be perfect. No edits. No post-production. These videos are for consumption on smartphones. Your audience will be used to seeing this type of video on YouTube and other media channels.=

To prepare, you need to know what you want to say about the product. Do you want to highlight portion size, plate presentation, special preparations or flavor? You don’t want to read directly from a script, but you do want to know this information before you start.

Next, what type of video do you want to make? There are two types to consider. You can do a selfie video where you talk about the product and then cut to showing the dish.  Or, you can do a product focus video where the product is shown the entire time, as you talk about the product.

Most smartphones have both selfie cameras and snapshot cameras included.

Talk about the product as if you’re telling your team about it. It’s okay to if it's not perfect!  A natural, conversational tone is fine.   And there's no need to find an actor to do the talking. However, if you do have someone in-house who likes to be on camera, by all means, use them as your on-screen talent.

Here are some best practices and tips for achieving the best results for shooting video with your smartphone:

Tips for Android:

Tips for iPhone:

For selfie videos: Don’t angle from above. Instead, get closer to your phone and tilt your head slightly. Smile and use exaggerated expressions — smartphone videos do not pick up subtle expressions very well.

For product focused videos: Get close to the product. Choose either an overhead view, 3/4 angle view, or straight on view depending on the product.

Remember, the most important thing is to get a collection of useful content that you can share with your team, so let it roll. Do it in chunks. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Share your Video

Now it's time to share your video with your team.  You could post it to YouTube or another video sharing site, but they are public and if there is proprietary information in there, you might not want to do that.  Besides, you want to track completion for each of your team members.

Another option is to build it into a course using one of the standard eLearning tools like Articulate or Captivate.  You can then upload it to a standard Learning Management System and track the results.  Of course, you may not have an LMS …

So (our favorite option) you could Instant Assign it to your team using ExpandShare. It’s super easy to do and does not require any additional software.  And you can also construct courses using the online course builder which will allow you to do quizzes and knowledge reviews as well.

You can even drip out your content and courses over time using the campaign tools.  But I digress.

In the end, the important thing is to get the content out to your users instead of inside your own head.  It’s not doing any good there.  And it won’t do much good sitting on your phone either.  So make it, and then share it!


9 Features You Gotta Have in a Restaurant eLearning Platform


This might seem like little more than shameless shilling for our Restaurant Ready training software—but there's a reason that we built these features into our system in the first place. That's because they're essential to making a learning program effective. So here goes, our top 9 training software features ...

1. Assignments.  It might sound obvious, but lots of training programs don't allow for assigning, they are essentially browsing systems.  Think or Udemy.  In a top down system, you need a way to assign content to your users so they get it, know they got it, and know they are done with it.  And you as an admin need to know that it's complete.

2. Mobile.  Everything is heading mobile, and so your platform not only needs to be mobile compatible, it should probably be mobile first.  And EVERYTHING needs to work on mobile.  Any exercises, questions and interactions need to be ready for the smaller, touch screen interface and possibly slower network speeds.

3. Library.  Your system has got to be able to store content for users to find. Imagine folders, PDFs, videos, manuals, etc. However, this is not a collaboration system like Google Drive where everyone can put stuff on it. It's designed to be a Library.  Libraries are managed.  The content in them is collected, curated and presented for users by a librarian.  In this case, that's probably you!  

4. Course Builder.  Many systems rely on expensive, cumbersome training software to develop courseware.  Your platform should have that built-in.  It should be no-hassle and easy to use and include video, quizzing, knowledge reviews, etc. 

5. Refresher TrainingKnowledge is not a one-time event.  Things get forgotten.  Users need to be tuned up.  Your system should allow for automated follow up training system which can distribute training over time—as a campaign.

6. Easy to Use.  Both the admin and user experience need to be simple and easy to use. If not, your engagement will drop and your training will suffer.  Look for a system that is simple and visual.

7. Engagement. The system needs to support many forms of user engagement, including push notifications, success feedback, email alerts, admin notification tools and reporting digests.  Gamification, competition and badging are also great ways to engage your team and groups.

8. Company Organization and Reporting.  Your platform should support hierarchies, locations and the related support for that structure. If not, you really won't get good data out of the system to know who is doing well and who's not. 

9. Integration and Customization. As you grow, especially mid-size and larger companies will have special needs, things like integrating into other in-house systems, customized features and specialized reporting.  Make sure the system is extensible and that the dev team for the company you choose has a track record of doing this kind of work.

Want to learn more about Restaurant Ready and maybe kick the tires and see how it works? 

FAQs About ExpandShare + Restaurant Ready

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We get lots of questions about why ExpandShare is right for restaurants. Here are a few of the more frequently asked questions we get from restaurant owners and managers:


Why is training such a challenge for restaurants?  

There are a couple of reasons.  First, turnover in the foodservice industry is often high, which means you are training new employees all the time.  And in fact, good training can reduce turnover because one of the key reasons employees leave is that they report training as being poor or non-existent.  Also, restaurants are in the service business and are trying to promote a specific concept or model which can only be done through effective training of front line employees.  And in the back of the house, food cost, quality and food safety are all dependent on a well-trained kitchen staff.  

Why eLearning?  Why not do the live training like we are used to?

There is always going to be a hands-on, shoulder-to-shoulder component to restaurant training.  However, much of it can be offloaded to eLearning. Menus, procedures, company culture, rules--all of these can be taught using eLearning.  It’s always on, always the same, always available for when employees need it, right on their phones or computers.  It also costs less than live training, up to 70% less.  And finally, it’s trackable and automated which means you can quickly see who’s trained and who’s not and actually do something about it with just a few clicks.

Why does video work well for training restaurant employees?

Video training is particularly good for restaurant training because you can demonstrate concepts and information.  But it’s also the best way to engage with audiences, with more than 3x the engagement of written text documents and information.  But just putting videos online doesn’t cut it, you need to track it, assess the people watching it and have a training strategy behind it.

What is microlearning?

Microlearning is short eLearning content which is designed to be easily digested by your audience.  Any training which can be taken in just a minute or two is considered microlearning.  Microlearning is perfect for engaging with modern audiences, and it allows people to take training without setting aside hours of their time.  It’s also a great way to do refresher training.

Can I have my employees do training outside of work?

It depends on your company policies and employment rules, but many restaurants would not hesitate to ask an employee to study the menu at home before they come to work--eLearning falls into the same category. We have clients who also require that employees take the training at work, on the clock, and some of them also compensate employees for after-hours coursework.

What the best way to use ExpandShare to maximize my training?

The best training programs are fleshed out over time with more and better content, constantly assessing, tracking and applying the competency of staff to business results.

For onboarding, it’s about having all the bases covered and making sure employees are up to speed. For ongoing training it’s about setting objectives and achieving them.  For example “I want to increase my dessert sales by 10%”.  Implement a training program to teach servers how to upsell desserts, track their knowledge and see if you impact the training results.  The platform gives you all the information and tools to be able to do that.

Can I use ExpandShare to keep already trained users up to speed?

Yes, you can!  You can create campaigns or “Roadmaps” of quizzes and content which can be delivered out over time, automatically.

Can I share resources and documents on ExpandShare?

Yes, that’s one of the primary features of the app--there is a visual library where any user can quickly click and find your key documents, resources, videos and other information.  You can also assign that information to users if you want to make sure they view it.

Is it mobile compatible?

ExpandShare is not just mobile compatible, it’s literally designed from the ground up to be a mobile experience. There are native apps for iOS and Android which support push notifications, but it also works equally well on a mobile browser.  And of course it works well on desktops and laptops too

How will this app help my restaurant make more money?

Here’s a stat for you from a national eLearning research foundation:  42% of companies using eLearning reported an increase in revenue after implementing their programs, and revenue per employee was reported to be 26% higher for companies that offer training using technology.

Where am I going to find the time to put together all this training and content?

We make it easy to get started.  You don’t have to build out a huge training program right away.  First, we include stock content on some key topics like food safety, alcohol safety and sales and upselling.  We also have fully-baked training courses created for positions like hosts and servers and bartenders.  But you can also just upload content that you already have, like, say, a menu or a handbook--then you can add a couple of questions as a quiz, and blast it out to your team.  It takes just a minute to do and you build your set of training content out over time and track it as you go.

Plus if you need extra help, it’s not very expensive for us to help you put together custom courses for your particular needs. We’re very hands-on.  

If you'd like to learn more about ExpandShare + Restaurant Ready, check it out HERE


US Foods Helps Restaurants Find Success

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Starting up a restaurant is hard. Running a restaurant is hard. Being successful and realizing the dream of every restaurant owner is even harder. Many owners have grand dreams and a good concept with tasty recipes, but it can be difficult to turn those basic elements into a successful enterprise.


Enter US Foods, who has been helping restaurants everywhere be successful. The company has a corps of Restaurant Operations Consultants (ROCs) standing by to help restaurants learn the ins and outs of making great food and making good money doing it. 

There are more than 80 ROCs covering every region in the US. So if you’re a restaurant owner looking for some solid advice, reach out to these folks.  Their services are available to any US Foods customer, and you can reach out to them at the ROC Page on the US Foods site

In addition, US Foods has a set of Value-Added Services partner companies, including every aspect of the industry from scheduling to marketing, liquor control to e-commerce.  These partners help provide the right tools to raise profits and lower costs.

Full disclosure, ExpandShare is one of the Value-Added Services partners, helping restaurants on the training front with our Restaurant Ready software and other tools for restaurants.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Value-Added Services program, you can find out more on their site.  It’s free to sign up! 

Five Tips on Training Restaurant Employees for Guest Experience

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Exceeding guests’ expectations begins with the culture of you restaurant, which is created by the restaurant managers and the employees themselves. This culture has a huge impact on guests and guest delight.

Here are five tips on creating the best possible environment for delighting guests.

  • Value your team. When employees feel valued, they’re more likely to provide top-notch customer service. In order to get this right, you need to train your managers and then incent them to do things that makes employees feel nurtured and valued.
  • Define who does what. Every team member should know what their responsibilities are and receive training to perform each.
  • Manager to store ratio. If you have multiple locations, keep the management ratio low. It's important for employees to have direct contact with owners and managers as often as possible.
  • Quality is Job 1. Teach everyone what quality means in both service and product. Then make sure everyone is an inspector—make the entire team responsible for quality and give everyone the power to “shut down the line” if the quality is not up to snuff.
  • Service is half the battle. Guests want to be treated well. And they want to be treated well consistently. Put together a model for guest interactions and teach it. Then take the time to make sure that everyone adheres to it—this can take a little while, but is worth the effort. It can be as simple as saying "my pleasure" when someone says "thank you."

One of the best ways to train the standards in any restaurant is to use some simple eLearning.  Find out more about how you can implement eLearning in your restaurant