Why Food Photography is Vital for Your Restaurant or Catering Business
In today’s world of social media, restaurants owners and caterers have no choice but to market through the Internet and social media. To stay relevant, you have to put your food on a pedestal for all the world to see. Your menu is your calling card; in a sense, it is who you are. When potential customers hear of your restaurant or business, chances are that the first thing they will want to do is see your menu – so they can start planning and dreaming about the perfect meal or event. But what can make even more of an impact – what can transcend place and language – are photographs. Food photography adds a dimension that words cannot. A picture adds color and depth, and nothing beats photos for conveying everything that is wonderful about your food.
Clichés are clichés because they are generally true and this certainly goes for the saying: “We eat with our eyes.” People love to see what they’ll be eating before they dig in. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a waiter on the way to another table with a luscious-looking
dish and I ask to know what it is. Even the most accurate and glowing description of a prized dish on a menu can’t compete with a full-color photograph. That is why, long before the Internet flashed photos far and wide, glossy food magazines like Bon Appétit and Gourmet were so successful. Their photographs of their featured dishes were so beautifully arranged and captured, that people shelled out good money to buy these periodicals and to salivate over the gorgeous pictures.
Photos Will Get Diners to Your Door
To attract customers with the help of the photography on your website or Facebook page, promote items that are hard to resist and that will get people to cross your threshold – even if they’re not the most expensive or profitable dishes on the menu. This strategy can be even more effective if, along with a breathtaking photo, you’re offering an attractive price; those two factors could prove to be irresistible to potential clients. As a caterer or restaurateur who specializes in, say, desserts, put a photo of a particularly delectable-looking platter of colorful cupcakes or petit fours on your Home Page, tack on a great price, and use that as a “door buster.” The combination of superb price and eye-catching photo is the dynamic duo of food advertising. Alternatively, use a top-level photograph to show off your most expensive and elaborate dishes – from a few mouth-watering angles – and people will come flocking, despite the higher price of this specialty item.
The truth is, though, you don’t have to pick and choose. In addition to the above tactics, all the items on your online menu should have photos accompanying the descriptions (alongside is better than in a separate gallery). You never know what dish will appeal to a customer but you do know that photographs sell it better than just words. Add a brief but accurate description to every photograph to help with search engine optimization. Many people prefer looking at images when they’re searching on Google, and the photos of your food can appear at the top of the list if marketed properly.
Make Your Food Tangible
It could be that through word of mouth alone your restaurant or catering business has developed a great reputation. Nonetheless, competition in the food industry is fierce and potential clients today want concrete evidence of your skills. The goal is to take your service out of the realm of hearsay and into the sphere of tangible and real. You want the interested consumer not just to hear about you, but also, to be able to see what you have to offer (which is just one step away from tasting). With stunning photographs of your food you want to offer the potential client a sensory experience – and the words “good enough to eat” should be what comes to mind when they see these pictures.
Once You Have Their Attention…
The current trend of using tablets as menus may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it does give a restaurant another opportunity to “say it with pictures.” With the right angle and lighting, even food considered run of the mill can take on a certain panache. You may think there can’t possibly be a unique way to display a hamburger or a slice of pizza, but in the right hands – the hands of a top food photographer – your food can become a work of art and every item on your digital menu will be more attractive and enticing.
A Final Snapshot
There is no way to over-emphasize the importance of professional and creative food photography. The difference between a customer hearing great things and seeing great things is like listening to a baseball game on the radio or being there in person. Yes, the former will convey the basics and give you a sense of what’s going on; but absolutely nothing compares to the bright colors, visual intensity, and emotional impact of being up close to the object of your desire. Excellent professional photography will convey the impression you want to give and will “say” exactly what you’re trying to express about the delicious food you have to offer.