The Social Problem Restaurants Have
The social problem restaurants have.
February 1, 2018
Restaurateurs cannot afford to have poorly taken phone images represent their menu on social media.
by Nathan Gurvitch of Gurvitch Images
Most restaurants are under the impression that the only photos they need are for website and press, not realizing how many more of their prospective patrons are forgoing their homepage and traditional ad media altogether for apps where not a single professional image exists.
Social media and delivery app services have been great for restaurants, allowing them to advertise for free and reach customers they would otherwise miss. But many restaurants don’t realize how many customers they actually lose on Yelp, Grubhub, Ubereats, and so on. More importantly they don’t know why they’re losing them. Most times when patrons go out to eat in a new town or want to check on a restaurant that was recommended by a magazine or friend, they go to yelp or one of the food delivery apps to see the menu and the pictures. If they’re in the mood for sashimi, and all they’re seeing are poorly lit Iphone images of messy plates or sashimi that lacks the gorgeous sheen they expect, they’re probably not going to become a patron, and if they do, they most certainly are not going to chance ordering the toro, because they’ve just been “assured” that it’s not worth the premium price. But maybe that restaurant’s toro is the finest in town and now both the customer and the restaurant are losing out. It’s even worse for foods that don’t photographically age well like fried dishes, chops, or pasta dishes that needs to be shot the moment it is plated for optimal photographic results.
One of the worst crimes of smartphone food photography is that awful built in flash that casts an odd color hue and don’t capture the detail of the food being shot. It also doesn’t do any favors to the ambience, as phone flashes produce a very harsh light fall-off that casts the rest of the table or establishment in dungeon-like darkness.
Typical customer-taken yelp images.
Restaurants are not powerless to fight this
Professional images from Gurvitch Images (larger) compared to typical customer submitted photography (smaller).
The solution is simple. If you already have professional images of your bill of fare, that’s great! Just post those images to social media or have a friend or family member do it. Most photographers will be thrilled to post the images you hired them to take onto their own Yelp/Grubhub accounts as it adds exposure for them in their local markets. Make sure it’s tagged with the menu item it corresponds to. If you don’t have any, then start interviewing food photographers immediately. Long term, the cost of hiring a professional food photographer is a drop in the bucket compared to the customer loss created by lack of quality visual representation of your food.
Social media can be a restaurateur’s greatest ally or foe. It’s hard enough to combat the ridiculous reviews about how the service seemed too fast, too slow, or the loud folks at the next table. Beautifully crisp images of the food from your kitchen is your best weapon against the food trolls and other pitfalls of the app-driven restaurant marketplace.
If you are ready to take the next step, please call my studio. Help is on the way!
Nathan Gurvitch has been a food and still life photographer since 2010 and has served a long list of happy clients, big and small.
Call (718) 909-8498 for in