Posted by Patrick Maness
Chances are good you’ve seen an otherwise respectable guest stand on a chair or kneel on the floor, angle their smartphone just right and take a picture of their food. Such a sight, which can be rather comical, is often as annoying as it is flattering. On one level it’s great to know the food you’re serving looks appetizing enough to be shared over the worldwide web, but at the same time, whatever happened to people just picking up a knife and fork to enjoy a meal?
Modern food photography
If you walk through a museum and look at some still-life paintings by European masters, you’ll quickly realize there has been a mania for pretty pictures of food for hundreds of years. Of course, now it doesn’t take an easel and a palette of paint to do it, just a thumb and a phone, so everybody's joining in.
Instagram has changed the way people eat out and restaurateurs ought to pay attention.
On the most obvious level, you have a great marketing opportunity. If you have your kitchen staff take the time to really work on the presentation of each dish, you have the potential for some free advertising. Patrons simply snap a picture, mention your restaurant and share with their followers.
Beyond emphasizing the aesthetics of the meal and trying to serve up “Instagram food,” restaurateurs need to consider how the design of the dining area can appeal to Instagram users. That is, can your dining room feature the kind of décor people want to capture and share?
Is it Instagram worthy?
The best way to get someone’s attention is to stand out. Often, this can be done by exhibiting creative design choices, such as unique light fixtures, interesting paintings or graphics on the wall and so forth.
Features that draw people to your restaurant, say a swing in the waiting area or a giant Jenga set on the patio, are also huge draws for the Instagram crowd.
However, much of this can seem gimmicky. For 90 percent of restaurant owners, the true challenge is to stand out in a way that is still tasteful. You don’t want your restaurant to appear as though it’s trying to get people’s attention.
To design your eating area in a way that invites people to take pictures, think about the best food pictures out there. Just like paintings are placed against plain, white walls in an art museum so they stand out, plain colors found in white-washed wood, gray slate or soft, blue paint can really make colorful dishes pop. The idea here is to provide a setting where the food stands out and people quickly reach for their phone to snap a picture. It’s a simple solution that may create the ideal conditions for people to share images of the wonderful food coming out of your kitchen.
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