The Love-hate Relationship with #Foodporn# on Social

Earlier this year, NYC restaurants have started banning customers from taking photos of their food. However, many now offer free desserts and discounts for those who snap photos of their food and share them on social.  According to a survey,about 49 percent of consumers use social media to research restaurants.


(photo source: abc news)

In the article, one NYC restaurant puts down a special reminder at the top of the menu saying “ strongly discourages the use of cellphones, unless you’re posting food porn on Instagram, #NAMEOFTHERESTAURANT# ” Many restaurants are realizing that this practice could be beneficial to their business.Consumers may not visit a restaurant’s website or read foodie blogs, but they definitely follow #foodporn# on Instagram. Sharing mouth-watering photos of your food on social gets people excited about the restaurant and cuisine.

While most of the photos posted created positive publicity and PR, some didn’t. One diner posted a photo of rabbit stew that was amazing, but the restaurant’s publicist asked him to take it down because the photo didn’t look appetizing. Well…each person has his own way of interpreting art.

Do you think this is could be beneficial to the restaurants? Do you snap photos at restaurants? Are you annoyed about food photo taking?


5 thoughts on “The Love-hate Relationship with #Foodporn# on Social

  1. I definitely think food photo taking could be beneficial to restaurants. When I research restaurants online I often find myself quickly glancing at the food photos taken by others. This gives me a good idea of the portion sizes and other attributes of the meal to expect. However, this could come at a price as indicated above regarding the rabbit stew. Restaurants also run the risk of having someone post a photo of their meal in conjunction with a negative review. If i were an owner of such an establishment I would worry more about that than whether or not a photo looks appetizing. I think the comments/description that are affixed to the photo are much more important. Either way, a photo of a yummy meal along with positive comments/reviews could certainly boost a restaurant’s profile.

    Personally I do not snap photos at restaurants. I actually find food photo postings a bit annoying as I feel that the food-enjoying experience is an intimate one and should be sparingly shared on social media. Unless I go to that exact restaurant and order that exact meal I am never going to know how awesome/horrible your food was. I think it is best if you put the phone down and just enjoy your meal without having to let your social media following about the experience.

  2. This blog post is actually the first time I have heard of some restaurants banning cell phone pictures of your food – yet I am not surprised by this. I think that this argument can truly go either way.

    In one sense, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are so popular, that a delicious looking food pic from your favorite restaurant can be a great marketing tool. It’s free press! In addition to great reviews on sites such as yelp, a scrumptious food pic will definitely convince me to go visit a restaurant. Restaurants can leverage this new food pic phenomenon to drive in foot traffic and increase sales. (just beware of the ugly food pic and bad reviews. This could be used against the restaurant if something bad happens, ie. a hair is found in the food!)

    On the other hand, some NYC restaurants are known for their exclusivity, therefore consumers taking pictures of their dishes could tarnish the restaurants image. They want you to come into the restaurant to experience their food, and not simply see it second-hand on social media sites. In this case, I would completely understand the restaurant forbidding cell phone pictures at the dinner table.

    On a more personal level, I find food pics on social media sites more annoying than anything. I would prefer to see these images on yelp when I am proactively seeking out a restaurant to visit, instead of clogging my news feeds.

  3. I never thought of this before until I saw my friend taking a picture of a burger with a quarter by its side to make sure that he captures not only the small burger’s pic but gives a perspective to his friends. After that I have made a habit to do some research, like review comments and pictures of the servings before going out.
    I think because people have become more detailed oriented, the pictures can say both positive or negative about a restaurants. The restaurants, which are confident about their food quality, should not be worried about these pics.
    I never take pictures and post them, but it is a good to have knowledge and I don’t mind if people continue to do it.

  4. I definitely think there is something to be said about the value of sharing pictures of food. Normally, if you look at a restaurants website, you know your getting their best presentation…..which isn’t always indicative of how the food looks on an average night. However, I think seeing an image of a particular dish sent by an average person might very well inspire someone to go try it out.

    I’m not sure what the concern would be from the restaurant point of view. Any publicity is usually good publicity in this day and age, so having people share pictures of a dish would presumably be encouraged. Personally, my mother constantly sends me pictures of her meals when she goes out, and I find it a little annoying. I think people can go too far when it comes to sharing pictures, and this could be a turn off.

    However, just like everything in life, if the the timing is right, then it works out. If I were looking for a place to eat in the city, I might be encouraged to view pics of dishes to get a better sense of what type of style the restaurant had.

  5. This is actually the first I’ve really read about his as well, but after thinking about it – I have to admit that I do see it often. I personally don’t take photo’s at the restaurants I go to, but it doesn’t bother me that people do. As for the restaurants – I don’t think they should care. In the end – they’re serving the food so it should be good in the first place. And if that’s the case the restaurants shouldn’t mind.

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