With social media becoming empowered day by day, influential marketing has risen and taken a hot seat. Instagram, Snapchat, boomerang, Facebook, these are becoming the business catalyst for many of the new-gen entrepreneurs. Talking about the f&b industry, social media has become one of the major players in terms of promotion and market reach. Turning restaurant into Instagram bait has thus given the first priority nowadays.
Some restaurateurs are taking the idea a step further by designing their physical spaces in the hopes of inspiring the maximum number of photos. From fancy platting, lights, to the interiors, restaurants, and cafes are turning everything to be clickable. To be sure, restaurateurs have always wanted their spaces to look attractive. But in the era before social media, owners could concern themselves primarily with space’s effect on its occupants. How a room or the food looked in photographs was, at best, the secondary concern.
"In the recent times, diners not just tantalize their taste buds with scrumptious food but they also treat their eyes with the presentation of delicacies. Interesting plating and tableside preparation make the restaurant a ‘must-visit’. And in addition to this an army of Insta-foodies put their best fork forward to influence their audience,” says Tushar Kapoor, Director of newly opened Amuse House at Ansal Plaza, New Delhi.
"We live in a digital age where around 80 percent of the consumers look up a restaurant on social media before going there. Therefore, social media is a very crucial part of community building," he further adds.
Taking photographs of food before eating is becoming a sort of standard operating procedure at restaurants across the country, especially by youngsters armed with smartphones eager to share their experiences. According to Brandwatch Analytics, Pizza is the most popular Instagrammed food behind sushi and steak.
“Instagram is playing a pivotal role in the hospitality industry off late and have set up new trends. With an enormous consumer base, the food and beverage images millennial click and post are an absolute visual treat to patrons. It is the era of social media and everything today like fancy plating and interiors need to be 'Instagram-able’,” says Arjun Raj Kher, Brand Head at Bayroute, Mumbai.
Instagramming has helped in many ways to bring evolution in India’s hospitality industry. The use of molecular gastronomy, use of dry-ice and many more techniques are used to create more drama for social media presence and to increase reviews. Cafe Out of the Box, for instance, changes the ambiance for each season and special days. “During cricket match season, our staff wears IPL branded t-shirts to create the mood and feel at the cafe. Also during FIFA matches, we put up flags of the countries to maintain the enthusiasm while screening the matches. Also, we have special menus during Tomatina festival, Halloween and the likes,” shares Udit Bagga, Director of Café OTB.
According to Bagga, OTB spends 70 percent of the total marketing budget on social media platforms.
With the new inventories pouring in the market every day, it has thus become very important for the existing and budding restaurateurs to add the Social Media effect on their platter to grab the attention of influencers and the customers. However, the crucial thing that should not be ignored is the quality and the consistency of taste.