It’s no secret food is one of the most popular segments on Instagram. Restaurants are taking advantage of this trend by catering to Instagrammers. For example, many now use simple presentation and photography techniques to help make food images go viral.

Making a dining experience more Instagram-worthy means paying attention not just to the appearance of the food itself, but also to the architectural aspects of the restaurant. Many eateries offer visually-appealing dishes and provide Instagram-worthy, marble-top tables.

Is your restaurant on Instagram? Here are five major ways to impact your food’s Instagram-worthiness.

  1. Find the Right Light

Lighting is one of the most important elements for creating powerful photos. This is the case for any type of photography, including food photography. Natural light is key to great-looking food.

There are many ways to increase the amount of natural light in a room. Some of the more obvious ways include using or uncovering large windows to let in sunlight. You might also install one or more skylights.

If adding windows or skylights to an existing room is not a practical option, there are ways to extend the natural light you do have. Use mirrors to increase light from existing windows or skylights. The more mirrors you have, the more reflected light will bounce around the room.

To brighten a dark room, break up heavy, dark accents or furniture. Paint walls and doors a brighter color and rearrange furniture for a more open look. Get rid of heavy or dark fabrics on windows and tables. Opt for clean, crisp lines instead. If your room is exceptionally dark, try white tables or tablecloths to help brighten the space.

  1. Beef up the Background

Although the food is the main target for photos, the surroundings are equally important. The right background features can have a significant impact on your photo. To enhance your background, include trendy plating, marble table tops, baking racks, and wooden serving boards. You could also slip in a napkin with your logo for a smart marketing tactic.

Make sure you choose the right background elements to complement the food choice. You do not want to overwhelm Instagrammers with a look that is too busy or clashes. If you want to show off a brightly-hued food, keep your background simple. Basic but cool dishware can create stunning a backdrop for plated food.

Keep in mind guests will take in everything at once: the food, plate, silverware, table, napkins, and drinks. Try not to overdo your choices; sometimes a simple, bold background will work best.

  1. Make the Food Look Fresh

instagram-food-photosOnce Instagram marketing becomes part of your overall strategy, there are various ways to leverage it. The fresher your food looks, the better! You can even take a photo in the kitchen so people get a sense of see how fresh and authentic the food is. Dimensions and texture play a huge part in food photography. People like to see cheese melting or chocolate dripping.

If you want your food to go viral, it should look like food. While bright colors and unique options appeal to Instagrammers, the photo should encourage viewers to chow down as well. There’s nothing more disappointing than a beautifully-arranged plate of food that looks or tastes like plastic.

How else can you make sure food looks both fresh and tasty? Consider its colors, textures, and shapes. Fruits and veggies will provide pops of healthy-looking color to a plate that has many like-colored foods. You can sear meat and let it rest to help it look its best.

Brushing a light coat of oil over meat and bread may help their appearance pop. In most cases, food should be neither over- nor under-cooked to look its best. As a last resort, you can cut food into interesting or unique shapes, combine textures, and choose small portions for visually-appealing plates.

  1. Don’t Overcrowd the Plate

When it comes time to snap a photo, don’t overcrowd the plate. Instagram-worthy photos aren’t too busy; keep a minimalist mindset as you prepare your photo. You can experiment with different props to see how many you need. Try silverware, a cocktail, other food or a related item to make the photo stand out.

Try to keep one-third of the plate empty. This empty space creates additional visual appeal. If you try to load up the entire plate, it becomes cluttered less visually appealing. Again, try to include fruits or vegetables to add natural color to the dish. If the plate seems too full, either reduce the portion size or increase the size of the plate.

Different methods can be used to help increase the appeal of your plates. Add a unique garnish, serve food in odd numbers so the eye will focus on the central offering, stack food or arrange it in some unique way, and corral unwieldy or messy sauces by adding them afterward. Food trends are constantly changing; keep an eye on Instagram feeds to see what looks new or different.

Often, rearranging or recoloring food might take your plating to the next level. Simply swap a traditional garnish for something on trend — like pomegranate seeds instead of an orange wedge, for example. It can completely change the feel of a plate.

  1. More Than The Food

You can make your restaurant Instagram-worthy by changing more than just the food. Make your entire restaurant more Instagrammable. Get a statement piece worthy of a photo. This can be easy to implement if you focus on one signature piece. Good ideas include a memorable neon sign or an outstanding accent wall.

Make sure you keep your restaurant in good working order. Monitor the status of your equipment and order replacement kitchen parts when necessary. Quality kitchens can entice just like a handsome dining room.

If you want your food and restaurant to attract guests, simple changes to presentation can help drive Instagram-worthy photo opportunities. You don’t have to sacrifice taste or style to create visually appealing spaces; with careful planning, even a few simple touches can create a look worth sharing. If you care about food and style, show it off! The more care you put into planning the simple details, the more your food will appeal and be Instagram-worthy to your guests.

Author Bio: Rich Lansdale works for SharpTek Supply, the leading retailer and distributor of professional and commercial parts, equipment, specialty blades, and lubricants for restaurants. 

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