There’s no denying that food and Instagram are a naturally harmonious pair. In today’s world, people seem to enjoy sharing their food on Instagram just as much as they do eating it. Scrolling through your feed, there’s an abundance of mouthwatering pictures featuring star-shaped pizza, decorative "unicorn" grilled cheeses and sushi donuts. Passionate “foodies” flock to these restaurants not only for the food that they serve, but also for the ornate floor tiles, catchy neon signs, and amusing murals that make for an engaging Instagram post. It is through these elements--edible or not, that Instagram is changing the name of food.
Millennials dine out more than any other generation, spending nearly 30 billion dollars eating out per year in the U.S. alone. Not only are they obsessed with food, but they’re also devoted to social media, with nearly 50 million active millennial users on Instagram in the U.S. alone. Instagram has become such a significant aspect of dining that millennials spend a total of five days a year looking at pictures of food, and 30 percent report being hesitant to eat at a restaurant with a weak Instagram presence. It is clear then, that the simple act of eating has become a lot more complex. It’s no longer just about a restaurant serving food that tastes good, but whether the food and the experience is also Instagram-worthy.
Restaurants are catching onto this, and completely reimagining the way that they present their food and design their spaces. With an emphasis on plating and decor, restaurants are curating a new dining experience—all with Instagram in mind. They are transitioning away from the traditional dimly lit and cozy interior that is conducive to conversation, but a nightmare for capturing pictures of food. Now, restaurant owners are incorporating natural lighting, creative menu-items and captivating design elements to encourage more customer engagement on Instagram. With people photographing their entire dining experience these days, restaurants are having to adapt and provide more than just a pretty plate of food.
For example, Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, with locations in Southern California, San Francisco, and South Korea, is an Instagram match made in heaven. From the decadent pastries with innovative flavor combinations, to the neon-sign sporting a playful “I got baked in ____,” this place invites not only its food, but also its atmosphere to be shared. With over 100k followers on Instagram, Mr. Holmes is the perfect example of a business using social media to their marketing advantage. They offer an abundance of Instagrammable moments for their customers, with design elements and a menu that is both memorable and sharable, like their limited availability cruffins that tend to run out each morning. Mr. Holmes Bakehouse has clearly invested in their design, and it’s paying off in today’s Instagram-driven consumer market.
Sitting at the cornerstone of trends in food, Instagram is becoming a key marketing tool for restaurants. It was practically made with restaurants in mind, as it combines visuals and social media all in one platform. There is no denying that Instagram has had, and continues to have an impact on the way that food and dining experiences are conceptualized. Is that impact positive or negative? That depends on who you ask. Regardless, it’s evident that Instagram is transforming how we think about, consume, and share food.