An Insta’s Worth A Thousand Words…

If you eat a meal but don’t Instagram a picture of it, did you even really go out to eat? Instagram has been the center of trends in the food and beverage industry for years. Now, millennials are using the photo-sharing app to redefine the restaurant experience.

We are the generation of sharing (or oversharing, some may argue), and we’re using Instagram to transform the way we dine. I mean really, why else would anyone order a Unicorn Frappuccino? For the magical taste of colored dyes and whipped cream? Of course not. It’s because it’s pretty to look at, and the bright colors combined with the Starbucks logo are a millennial’s Instagram dream. 

The ambience of your restaurant can affect everything from how much a customer spends, how long they stay in the restaurant, how much and how quickly they eat, whether or not they decide to return and more. If you appeal to a customer’s senses (sight, smell, hearing) they’ll enjoy spending time in your restaurant. Utilize Instagram as a tool to get them in the door.

It’s no surprise that most people want to share their dining experiences with others. It’s fun to show your followers delicious and ~ aesthetically pleasing ~ drinks and meals you’ve discovered. A simple Instagram post can be mutually beneficial for both customers and businesses: the customer receives validation via likes and comments for their stellar meal choice, and the restaurant gets free publicity. We come from a generation whose love for social media may only be outranked by its love for food, so it was only natural that we discovered a way to combine the two.

There are actually companies now that specialize in making your restaurant Instagrammable. Paperwhite Studio is a firm that designs adorable things like coasters, sugar packets and bottle labels for your viewing pleasure. Restaurateurs are turning their restaurants into Instagram havens with neon lighting, intricate floor tiles, whimsical wallpapers and provocative art – all in the hope that people will post pictures of them.

In terms of the actual meal, it has become increasingly important to audiences to know what their food is going to look like before they order it. In fact, some customers will intentionally look up a restaurant on Instagram before deciding whether or not to dine there. With over 230 million photos under the hashtag #food, your chances of finding the restaurant you want are pretty high. You want to make sure that your restaurant is represented in a way that is inviting and visually appealing.

Why does this matter to you, a restaurant owner? We’ll tell you why. Instagram could be the key to adding an extra flair to your business, and in turn, bringing more customers with it.

Fine dining isn’t just about eating fantastic food anymore. It’s about the entire experience of the restaurant. Naturally, restaurateurs want their spaces to attractive and aesthetically pleasing, but Instagram is pushing restaurants to also consider how it’ll look when photographed. While restaurant design has always been a priority, a cohesive flow of lighting, utensils, colors, and backdrops is becoming just as important as the food.

So how do you turn your restaurant into an Instagram-worthy space?

  • It’s important to remember you want decor that is attention-grabbing but not gimmicky. Being trendy doesn’t have to be obnoxious. Cha Cha Matcha in New York is decorated in bright pinks and greens to match their logo and “I love you so Matcha” is printed on any surface that allows it.
  • Lighting is key! There is scientific evidence that lighting has an effect on a person’s mood. For example, in one 2013 study researchers found that being exposed to natural light helped alleviate symptoms of depression in individuals. Lighting can even affect your appetite! Studies have shown that we tend to eat slower and consume less food in restaurants that have softer, dimmer lighting.
  •  This goes without saying, but cleanliness is of the utmost importance. Everything that is on display should be clean, organized, and visually appealing. Every label at Pressed Juicery is crisp and uniform, and makes for a great humble-brag Instagram post (your followers will know you’re trendy AND health conscious!).
  • Every place you put your brand logo can be used as a photo opp. Sugar Factory puts all of their brightly colored, candy-filled cocktails into round glasses that boast their logo in big letters. When a happy customer posts a photo of their drink, others will see that it came from the Sugar Factory and may pay them a visit next time they’re craving something sweet.

The most important thing to remember when designing an “Instagrammable” space, keep it authentic! Customers will notice if a concept or theme feels insincere. The bragging rights that come with finding an exciting new space will have customers telling everyone they know about your restaurant. Make sure you give them something to brag about!

Ilana Litvak
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