Food selfies are taking over Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites. Chefs and culinary professionals have mixed feelings about the trend and, in some cases, chefs have banned taking pictures of food in their venue, while others have gone to the other extreme, offering free food to those who take pictures of their food and tag the venue on Instagram. Food plating and presentation has always been viewed as an important aspect of running a restaurant. However, with food photography ballooning in popularity food stylist worthy dishes should be a key focus for venues. By pulling out those garnishes and squeeze bottles, and giving customers dishes worthy of the best food photography, businesses can get effective and free restaurant marketing from customers’ pictures of food.
Making Customers the Food Stylist
Let’s face it. The majority of customers do not know how to photograph food on a professional level. They lack the artistic knowledge and equipment. However, the widespread restaurant marketing that can result from customers uploading their pictures of food in a venue can bring in new restaurant business, and draw back old customers. Restaurant marketing is often at the forefront of the minds of managers and owners. Luckily, with the rise in social media and smartphones, as well as an appreciation for culinary culture, much word of mouth restaurant marketing is being done for businesses, for free, by the customer. Venues can easily get in on this type of restaurant marketing by persuading customers to take pictures of food and mention the venue. Offering prizes for the best food photography each month, or offering discounts for mentioning the venue, along with pictures of food, on social media sites, can get the trend started. Instead of worrying about food photographers or learning how to photograph food, venues can benefit from customers’ food pictures. Customers a likely to get a wide range of shots and, even better, flaunt them to their friends, giving a venue great restaurant marketing.
Chefs Against Food Selfies
Some chefs are fighting back against the hype of taking pictures of food during meals. They argue that their food stylist and artistic abilities are being revealed to the internet, open for everyone, including competition, to see. On the other hand, sometimes customers are so excited about taking pictures of food, that they focus less on their dining partners and more on how to photograph food. As a result of these factors, some Michelin-starred restaurant chefs have banned food photography in their venues.
For most restaurants, pictures of their food on social media sites is a great source of restaurant marketing, and has minimal drawbacks. Some of the top chefs and restaurants may have a cause for concern where pictures of food are concerned. If a customer does not know how to photograph food in a flattering way, it may hurt the reputation of the venue. Top restaurants also prioritize being of the highest standard, and publicity of their food presentation and creations may not be desirable. However, for the typical venue, food selfies are worth encouraging and embracing, and can lead to a significant increase in restaurant business and profits.