Food Trends | Marketing

That's Good, But Is It Instagram-worthy?

Oct 17, 2018

That's Good, But Is It Instagram-worthy?

Instagram offers everyone a visual way to share what's on the table—especially Millennials, who spend an average of 4% more at restaurants than Baby Boomers.3

Here's some advice to help you make the most of this important social media spotlight:

1. Show off your personality
Instagram is your opportunity to excite customers with a perfect presentation of your favorite dishes, and then get rewarded with increased traffic. Keep authenticity in mind for a share-worthy photo. Show off the distinctive items that make your menu unique and stay true to your operation.

2. Go for a bold presentation
Bold presentations payoff big-time on the screen. When a dish looks delicious, it encourages consumer participation on your social media platform. That buzz can bring in local traffic and has the potential to garner international attention, like the multicolored Rainbow Bagel that went viral for the Bagel Store in Brooklyn.

3. Keep it simple
You don't have to add sparkles to get foods noticed. Use white dishware to contrast with colorful foods. Go with a thoughtful presentation that highlights a few distinctive elements, like the oozing chocolate in the middle of a dessert or the juiciness of a perfectly cooked burger. Dishes that contain a surprise element, like the savory ‘Rebel Within' muffin from Craftsman and Wolves in San Francisco (a perfectly soft-boiled egg sits in the middle), build anticipation. There's no need for fancy lighting. Stick to natural light when taking pictures for the best results.

3. Get colorful
Use the bright natural colors of herbs and vegetables to make your recipes pop. Contrasting dark and light colors and bright, complementary colors paired next to each other work well, like the vegetables and rice in a Unicorn bowl. Orange Parisian carrots are highlighted next to green edamame, carefully arranged avocado, and rice. White rice gets a makeover when cooked with purple cabbage for a cool visual effect.

4. Go vertical
Layers of depth add visual interest to a picture. To draw a viewer's eye to a photo, make your dish the focal point in the foreground and keep your background simple. Playing with the viewpoint can also add depth. Create vertical lines by stacking ingredients, like burgers with textured toppings, bowls with colorful layers, and sauce ‘shots.'

5. Think odd numbers
You'll get a more balanced look by arranging things in odd numbers. Contrast that with a few symmetrical elements, like an avocado ‘rose' made with fans of avocado slices. It's this attention to detail that makes food worthy of sharing.

6. Leave space
Negative space on the plate draws attention to the details. Think innovative sauces carefully dotted along a plate, or artistic appetizers placed carefully in the center of a plate. Let the food be the center of attention.

Promote your limited-time offers on Instagram

In addition to creating menu items consumers want to share, Instagram visual platform is an ideal venue to promote your limited-time offers (LTOs).

  • 27% of consumers recall seeing LTO ads on social media, largely driven by Gen Z and Millennials 4

Use social media for safe experimentation. Test bold flavors and LTOs on the screen. A dish that garners attention could be something to offer each season. This was the case with Darren Wong's Raindrop Cake.5 Instagram doesn't require expensive equipment or a big investment, so it's open to anyone who has great-looking food to share. It's also an easy way to visually taste test new concepts and find out if consumers are hungry for more.

It's not science. It's food art.

One final piece of advice to keep in mind when you're Instagramming? Have fun with it! Enjoy Instagram as an opportunity to showcase the creativity in your kitchen, promote your operation and connect with consumers fun, engaging way. In a world where patrons eat with their eyes first, Instagram can the operator's best friend.

1 CPP 2017/2018
2 Technomic, Generational CTR, 2018
3 USDA Food Expenditure Series, 2018
4 Datassential, Blueprint for LTO Success, 2018
5 Eater, "Going Viral"