If you’re one of the photographer types who like to obsess over the way your dinner is plated just to rack up a few extra “likes” on social media, you may want to thank Chili’s–who are attempting to make it easier for you to take mouthwatering photos with their new approach to marketing.
“Food is the second most photographed thing, after yourself. Selfies of people eating food is the sweet spot,” Wyman Roberts, chief executive officer of Brinker International Inc. told Bloomberg News. Brinker, which is the parent company of chain restaurants Chili’s and Maggiano’s Little Italy, has recently taken a deeper look at ways in which it can appeal to the “new school” of customers who, according to Brinker, are a forward-thinking group of consumers not to be confused with millennials.
In order to reach the coveted new school consumers, Chili’s installed tablets on all their tables making it possible for customers to order drink refills and pay their bills without needing to interact with a real, human server. In their latest round of changes, Chili’s admitted to changing the way they serve food with the sole purpose of it looking better on Instagram. Robert’s said Instagram has a played a key role in the companies marketing strategy and views it as an extension of it’s marketing team.
Chili’s is clearly seizing a free advertising opportunity–yes, from their customer’s social media sharing habits, but also from their 25,000+ followers on it’s own Instagram account. To cater to this marketing goldmine, the restaurant now serves fries in stainless steel dishes and carefully plates their burgers so they are sitting higher on the plate–all to make the customer want to take a photo of it. And, it’s not just the way the food is being presented, Robert’s said they also have changed the buns they serve their sandwiches on to more photogenic, aesthetically pleasing buns.
Of course, food presentation is an important factor to the dining experience, there’s no denying that. Truth be told, it’s probably a good thing these large chain restaurants are adopting food design as a principle marketing strategy, but as Gizmodo points out, it’s kind of interesting to see Instagram have such a powerful impact on what ingredients restaurants are choosing to serve.