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Hospitality Insights

Selling Food without Words

02 June 2016


Oyster Food Photogrpahy

I love food. I love eating it, cooking it and love wandering around markets or cook shops thinking of my next dish. I have been fortunate enough to train as a chef, manage a restaurant or two and work with some very passionate chefs in my hotel management days.


At Umi Digital, we are fortunate enough to have worked with a number of restaurants of different styles and genres over the years. Time and time again we find one component underpinning  the successful marketing strategies for restaurants – Visual Assets. Photos or videos of food should evoke genuine hunger when looking through a restaurants website or Instagram feed. It has been so frustrating over the years when we have been delivered very poor quality photos that actually damage the restaurant more than promote it.

Our smart phones now have fantastic cameras so there is now no excuse not to have photos or simple video clips that sing. A small tripod, and a waiter/manager/chef with an eye for a photo can turn a bland boring website into something that draws people in and entices them to book.

If you look at these screen shots of Google Maps, where you are now offered local places to eat and drink without asking, you can see on the stream that the restaurants that stand out have an amazing header photo. You will also note that companies like Burger King have popped up as they have optimised their Google Business listing; this represents a massive opportunity for independent venues too.

Videos can also be really powerful too. Nothing long, but just simple clips of recipes, or a busy kitchen service  can really catch the eye when readers skim Facebook or Instagram. Instagram, I feel, is a wonderfully powerful tool for restaurants that have visually appealing decor and dishes. As of the 13th January 2016 , there were 168,375,343 posts on Instagram for #food and 76,239,441 posts for #foodporn. Amazing!


With over 300 million users, and over 70 millions shares a day on the platform, Restaurants really need to work on their visual social strategy to sell their wares without the need for many words!

Buy a tripod, grab your iPhone, and get snapping. It will drive engagement and most importantly bums on seats.

The Photos on the post have been taken by @SteveLowy

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