Everyone knows the phrase, “phone eats first”: the phenomenon where people snap a pic of their meal before even touching their plates. As a restaurant owner, you may see your customers flashing their cameras before digging in but have no idea where that content goes. It is likely appearing on social media sites, where the online community plays a huge part in determining the popularity of a restaurant. Nowadays, it is more important than ever to establish a strong social media presence to attract customers and highlight the best that your restaurant has to offer.

Research shows that the average American eats out almost five times a week. Additionally, 75% of millennials choose where to eat from browsing on social media, while 70% say they love to attend food-focused events since sharing food photos is so important to them. So important, in fact, that in 2017, #food reached over 168 million posts. This number is growing by the second––showing just how intertwined social media and dining experiences are today. 

We now find ourselves in an increasingly experience-focused economy, meaning that there is an increased demand for unique experiences. The millennial target demographic is one of the fastest-growing consumer bases, and they are more willing to explore new restaurants outside of their comfort zones for the sake of the experience and the ‘gram (translation: Instagram). Consumers want to visit restaurants that are picturesque and video-worthy to be able to share it on their social media sites.

There has also been an increase in trending and viral content, a growing factor in determining what places, people, or food gain popularity. In this context, millennials often feel FOMO (translation: Fear Of Missing Out) which drives the desire to continuously explore and keep up with current trends. At the moment, there has been a huge shift in expectations when eating out––now, the entire dining experience matters. This includes the trendiness, convenience, and ambiance, not just the quality of the food you receive.

Using social media as a point of reference, diners often check out other users’ posted photos to gain a better understanding of what to expect from a restaurant. The fastest way for consumers to judge whether or not to try a new place to eat is by their Instagram presence, even more so than reading wordy reviews on traditional sites like Yelp.

The correlation between social media and restaurant trendiness is clear, so put your restaurant on the map with a few well-lit pictures accompanied by thoughtful captions. With current smartphone technology, you don’t even need to hire a professional photographer––simply stage a few of your most aesthetically-pleasing dishes, and use your iPhone to snap away! Establishing a social media presence is the perfect opportunity for your restaurant to capitalize on new industry standards by capturing consumer interest in picturesque experiences and revolutionizing the way we dine.