The Instagram Effect

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 in Coursework | No Comments


One of our many instincts as human beings is to eat with our eyes, but in 2015 we are guilty of: eating with our Instagram Eyes*. Since the photo/video-sharing social media app Instagram was launched in 2010, chefs and restaurateurs have use it to promote their product and attract people from all over the world to their business. However, restaurants have also used this powerful social media to disappoint us -this time unintentionally- by sharing pictures of mouthwatering food that do not necessarily match what they are actually serving (Question: are they doing it for the “Likes”?

True story: I recently went to the West Village for brunch at a trendy restaurant whose pictures of his rotisserie chicken are all over Instagram. As you might have already guessed, once seated at the cute restaurant I through their Instagram pictures to help me choose what else to order besides their famous chicken. I instantly fell for the appealing picture of a buratta bruschetta topped with thick and decadent nectarine chutney. To my disappointment, what I got delivery to my table was a mediocre replica of the dish; the scant amount of chutney on the bruschetta was watery and the microgreens that gave the dish a touch of freshness were missing. The rest of the food was good – and accurate- but I was totally cheated on that one!

That afternoon I walked home wondering about what food experts might be saying about the power of social media and its effect on the restaurant industry, so I did a little research on the subject. I came across an interesting episode of Tech Bites from the Heritage Radio where I learned that – just like we are culpable of using way too many filters in our pictures to look our bests- some chefs and restaurateurs have been caught up embellishing their dishes just for the Instagram pictures.

My advice is then that we stop eating with our Instagram eyes and start taking our food decision based on more reliable sources, such as yelp or foursquare (at least we know that those pictures are 100% real and have not been highly embellished by Instagram obsessed chefs, right?!)

*To eat with one’s Instagram Eyes: Verb. Choosing what to order in a restaurant based on what dishes look most appealing on the restaurant’s instagram account. (note: This is not a real verb. I just made it up. Others might be using this verb too).

Link to the Tech Bites Episode: