It used to be that restaurants and bars would be frustrated by the constant flashing cameras in their establishments as diners documented their drinks and diners for social media. Restaurants banned phones, or forbid their customers from taking pictures during dinner. But the tide of Instagram couldn’t be stopped.
It might make sense, then, that more and more restaurants are embracing the omnipresence of social media on the food world. If people are going to Instagram their cocktails no matter what, why not try to make a profit off the exposure?
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It's only expected that your cocktail napkin and coaster will be printed with the establishment’s name and logo, but these days the food is getting the same treatment...from ice cubes to burger buns and even, yes, tuna steaks.
“We all know we live in an Instagram world, and the competition between bars is hotter than ever,” the owner of Dante, a Manhattan bar that stamps their ice cubes with their name, told Bloomberg. “Each place needs a way to captivate people and get them talking about you. It is, after all, free publicity.”
The trend gives chefs and restaurants a way to personalize, and take credit, for their creations.
“The Megu experience has always been known as over the top, so we needed to go big and came up with the idea to brand the food,” the owner of Megu, a restaurant inside the Dream Hotel in New York, Jon Bakhshi added.
The gimmick is surprising and bold, and unabashedly flashy. At Dante, the bartender calls these types of details “holy s--- moments.”
Bars and eateries that take on this tactic – unashamed self-promotion that capitalizes on the ubiquitousness of social media – are gaining social media followers, and that’s never bad for business.
If this is the way for restaurants to better capitalize off of the Instagram world, and if food photographers enjoy the extra gimmick, why not? Then again, there is a certain tackiness factor to be considered.
Of course, if you're more inclined to snap photos of your homemade creations, you can always brand your own burgers.