The ‘Instagramming’ of Restaurants

Foodservice establishments are investing in Instagram-friendly décor to capture younger, female customers.

April 23, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO – What is the subject of popular Instagram posts? Food, specifically, restaurant food. While restaurants have been innovating with eye-catching items, such as Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappucino and colorful bagels, the trend has evolved to the restaurant’s décor, CNBC reports.

“I feel like Instagram is basically the new version of word of mouth,” said Jen Pelka, who owns The Riddler, a champagne bar where about 50% of the customers post Instagram photos of their dining experience.

To encourage that, Pelka installed a champagne bottle mural on the outside and personalized while enamel tables on the inside. “We definitely know that people like to shoot from overhead and that things photograph really beautifully on white,” she said.

At the Media Noche sandwich restaurant, owners Madelyn Markoe and Jessie Barker designed the space to evoke feelings of Havana, Cuba, after a trip inspired them. “We wanted it to be photogenic, but more so we wanted it to match the food that we were presenting and to really transport people in Havana,” Markoe said.

Even chains have taken notice, like Taco Bell’s photogenic wall art in its Cantinas concept. However, Mike Kelly, co-founder and CEO of State of Mind Partners, cautioned restaurants to also consider how to get repeat customers beyond the initial Instagram post. “We’ve found that Instagram has been really helpful for restaurant groups as they move into different territories and regions,” Kelly said. “What parts of the brand are portable from an Instagram standpoint that gives you reference points that are true to the brand and are attractive?”