Sit down at any restaurant today and there’s a good chance that you’ll see at least a few diners taking pictures of their food and posting it to social media. That’s just one indication of the impact social media has had on the way food establishments market themselves. Through sites like Facebook and, especially, Instagram, restaurants are discovering new ways of attracting diners.
However, social media marketing for restaurants is a lot more complicated than simply posting pictures of good-looking food. Take a look at just how social media has changed the rules of the game for restaurant marketing.
Students in Culinary Management Need to Recognize the Value of Insta-Worthy Food
Traditionally, if a dish tasted great, there was a good chance that diners would tell their friends about it. While that type of word-of-mouth advertising is still important, it’s quickly evolving into word-of-mouth via social media. That means that food doesn’t have to just taste good, it has to look great. In fact, one survey found that 30 percent of 18 to 35-year-olds would avoid a restaurant that had a weak Instagram presence.
That means restaurants not only need to encourage diners to share photos of “Insta-worthy” dishes, but restaurants themselves need to interact with their followers on social media, including by liking and responding to posts they’re tagged in. Self-promotion is an important skill you’ll learn in a culinary management program, and one way that chefs and restaurant managers are doing that today is by actively managing their social media accounts. Doing so helps build brand loyalty and gives customers a feeling that the restaurant is invested in the community.
Social Media Is Having an Effect on the Dishes Restaurants Put on the Menu
Sites like Instagram are making how food looks more important than ever before. This in turn is having an effect on what restaurants are putting on their menus. Bright, bold colours tend to look great in pictures and some restaurants are especially conscious of the visual “wow-factor” when it comes to menu planning. Milkshakes featuring piles of ice cream and even slices of cake have been a hit, for example, as have Caesars with fried food, burgers, and other unusual food items stacked on top.
Of course, being outlandish doesn’t fit every restaurant’s brand, and it’s important that food also tastes great in order to turn new customers into returning customers. Fortunately, the menu planning and food presentation skills you’ll learn in restaurant management courses can help you craft a menu that is right for your restaurant’s image. At the same time, your advanced culinary techniques can help ensure that your menu offerings are as delicious as they look.
Restaurant Decor Is Now an Important Component of Social Media Marketing
Whether it’s the wallpaper, the wine glasses, or even just some well-placed decorations, social media means that restaurants are paying more attention to their decor. For example, if you’ve noticed more neon signs, marble countertops, and exposed-brick walls when you’ve gone out to eat, it’s because that type of decor looks great on Instagram and Facebook.
Restaurants are even paying attention to their lighting to make sure their space looks fantastic once it shows up on peoples’ social media feeds. All of these changes encourage diners to take pictures and share their experiences, which is basically free marketing for restaurants.