Instagram is a chef’s perfect platform.
Never before has it been so easy to get mouth-watering images of your food in front of thousands, if not millions, of eager diners.
In fact, one in three Australians admit to dining at a restaurant just so they can order a dish they’ve seen on social media. Social Dining Trends research has found that 1.8 million Australian diners are making decisions about what to order based on the information they find on social media.
But savvy restaurateurs don’t always use the platform to spruik for themselves, instead encouraging others to do the heavy lifting for them. It has never been more important for cafes, bars and restaurants to be digitally savvy and learn how to get pictures of their plates on to the accounts of Instagram’s big ‘influencers’.
Here are our top three tips for making your food ‘gramable’, increasing your chance of influencer fame, brand visibility and more bums on seats.
It needs to be WORTH IT:
People are pretty precious about their Instagram feeds. They aren’t going to upload a photo if it’s not going to attract a lot of love, or make their feed look bland to an outsider. At the most basic level, this means making sure the food has colour (and if it doesn’t; putting it on a colourful plate). But it is certainly more than that. Try thinking outside the box. And yes, we mean literally. Experiment with creative packaging. Stepping Stone café in South Yarra serves its eggs with avocado and toast soldiers in an egg carton and its muesli in a bowl made of a real coconut. The weirder the better.
It needs to be EASY:
Although you may be rolling your eyes back of house at the brave customers who stand up (or on their chair!) to take a perfect bird’s eye view pic of their breakfast, or the partners who have to take endless ‘candid’ photos of their loved one digging in, keep in mind that the easier you make it to take a killer photo, the more photos will be shared. We’ve heard of cafes who sell huge ‘Freak shakes’ keeping selfie sticks behind the counter so diners can be sure to get the whole shake (and themselves) in frame.
On top of this, make sure the lighting is good – natural lighting will bring out the best in your restaurant’s dishes and fluorescent lights will make it look like inedible cardboard. And consider your table tops and walls – different backgrounds such as wood, marble, metal and glass make great photos.
It needs to be ENCOURAGED:
We’ve heard countless wait staff complain of people taking too long at the table because they are busy taking a photo of their meal before they dig in. But keep in mind that every time someone takes a photo, it is free publicity for your business. Instruct your waiters to encourage selfies and food pictures. But don’t stop there; actively ‘like’ and comment on someone’s photos when they do tag your business or even consider running a weekly highlights post calling out some of your favourite posts and offering them a freebie for their next visit.
It’s more important than ever before that foodservice venues embrace social media and ensure they have a strong online presence for potential customers. Instagram seems like it was purpose built for hospitality – so make sure you take advantage of it.