The average UK social media user can’t help but exhibit their own dining experiences, taking just 65 seconds to snap the first picture after their meal is served in a restaurant. In new research revealing the importance of a restaurant’s social media potential, OpenTable, the world’s leading restaurant booking service, found that the first minute was crucial to setting up that perfect #foodgram shot.
No longer satisfied with a restaurant’s ambience or menu, UK diners are on the hunt for restaurants which offer them photography opportunities, with almost half of diners (48%) claiming it plays a crucial factor when choosing where to dine. Restaurant critics, previously deemed as the ultimate source of restaurant recommendations, have been overtaken by Instagram, with double the number of users (16%) claiming to be more influenced by the platform than critic reviews.
With mobile phone usage at an all-time high, social media is the first introduction a diner has to a restaurant with the quality of both the restaurants own page and previous diner’s posts proving vital to converting a table booking. Almost two thirds (59%) of diners admit to visiting a restaurant’s Instagram page, hashtag or location geotag before making their final decision on where to make a reservation. Glasgow diners are those least likely to visit a restaurant without giving it a social media check first, with a fifth of Glaswegians admitting to conducting social research every single time they make a reservation.
Top five cities most likely to share food pictures:
- Cardiff (83%)
- Glasgow (82%)
- Norwich (82%)
- Belfast (81%)
- London (79%)
The #foodgram trend is showing no sign of slowing down, with 44% of users stating Instagram’s influence in the restaurant industry is greater now than it was 12 months ago.
Foodie Influencer and Instagrammer Samantha Harris (@CertifiedNosh), says: “Social media has definitely become a crucial part of how a person chooses where to eat out. Its aesthetic nature allows diners to get a feel for the whole restaurant experience before setting foot in the place. You can gauge what the ambience and crowd is like, learn how the restaurant is decorated and see exactly what food will be served to you – leaving nothing to surprise and therefore minimising any risk of disappointment. It’s one of the best ways to find the perfect restaurant for any occasion!
Social media also allows diners to read reviews from real people who they can relate to. Restaurants should definitely make the most of the platform by ensuring they have an Instagram account that is kept up to date with exciting, enticing imagery showing off everything they have to offer and making sure the restaurant décor and the food they serve is as photogenic as it can be! A colourful dish, a flowery wall or a novel idea definitely helps!
Social posts that have gone down especially well for me are the avocado gelato from Snowflake, the mac and cheese topped with red wine braised beef from Berners Tavern and the Sea Bass curry from The Little Viet Kitchen. All super interesting and unique!”
Adrian Valeriano, Vice President, Europe, OpenTable, says: “The UK is fast becoming a nation that eats with their eyes, with this latest research proving that the photo appeal of a restaurant and its food has a big impact on how people make their decision on where to dine. Social media offers diners a window into what their restaurant experience could look and feel like, and as the digital generation becomes ever more reliant on having information at their fingertips, this new behaviour becomes a very important one for restaurants to take into consideration.”