How many times have you scrolled through social media, visited a website, or flicked through a recipe book, and found yourself drawn into a certain dish or cuisine thanks to the images you see?
Sight plays a fundamental role in whetting our appetite for certain taste experiences – and with websites and social media now an integral part of the research process for a customer seeking a meal out or somewhere to go for drinks with friends, having great photography on offer is no longer a bonus feature of your marketing plan.
And it’s not just the dishes themselves that benefit from high quality photography. With such a big focus on experiences in today’s world, consumers are looking for dining spaces, restaurants, and bars where they can immerse themselves in weird and wonderful surroundings – with Instagrammable features and picture-perfect settings.
In this blog post, we share some of the main reasons why investing in high quality photography is a must for the hospitality sector – no matter how big or prominent your business.
What Can You Achieve With High Quality Photography?
From highlighting certain dishes on your menu, to providing you with a catalogue of images for your social media channels, high quality photography is the very best form of marketing when it comes to trying to sell your business to potential customers and visitors. After all, who would visit a restaurant which doesn’t give any hint as to the quality or presentation of the food?
Photos play a huge part in influencing the decisions of potential customers – and let’s be honest, if you aren’t sharing your own images of your food and restaurant or bar setting, pretty soon your customers will start sharing their own images snapped on phones, taking all the control away from you and your marketing team.
Why Invest in High Quality Photography?
High quality photography can mean the difference between enticing a customer and pushing them towards a competitor. It’s as simple as that.
The ongoing evolution and growth of the online world, with a multitude of social media platforms and opportunities for online sharing, means that if you aren’t using the internet to your advantage, you will soon be overlooked in favour of a more “on trend” and “instagrammable” alternative.
High quality photography invites you to showcase your most popular cocktails and your delectable dishes in their best light – creating a multi-sensory experience that starts before your customers and diners have even entered your business premises. And here are some of our tips on how to curate and build the perfect photo portfolio for your restaurant or bar business.
Top Tips from Social Loop
The following tips come from our team of experts, who work with restaurants and bars across all cuisines to build their online presence, marketing success, and reputation.
Think About Presentation
It’s not just about the cocktail or dish itself, but also how you choose to present it. When a customer dines out, they want to feel like they’re enjoying a complete experience, with some of the most successful restaurants and bars selecting a theme and leaning into it through their interior décor and dish creation and presentation.
When it comes to photography, think about the experience you are selling and find ways of injecting it into the imagery.
Be Strategic with Placement of Photos
Having photos taken isn’t enough – once you’ve selected the best ones, you need to think about placement and how this can impact the way your customers order from you.
As a general rule, we tend to find that photographed dishes are ordered more frequently, so consider spotlighting your upsell or higher priced dishes in product photos. The more you can do to really make these images memorable, the better – although it is important to be sure you can replicate the photographs on a regular basis, to avoid customers feeling like they have been mis-sold an item from your menu.
Good Photography = Good for SEO
A concept which is often overlooked by business owners, high quality photography plays a big part in your SEO efforts. This is because, as part of your website assessment, search engines look at the quality and stability of your images – and whether or not they are original.
If nothing else, this alone is an excellent case for investing in your own original photography rather than relying on stock imagery – not to mention it gives customers a more authentic representation of the dishes and drinks they are likely to be served.
Don’t Just Reply on Your Own Images
If you have ever shared a customer review or a testimonial, then you are already familiar with the concept of user-generated content. But did you know that this type of content is proven to be considerably more effective in converting customers than branded content – and that a few images shared by food bloggers or previous customers can drive interest through the roof?
The fact is consumers trust word of mouth marketing above all else. They have become savvy to the tricks of the marketing trade and know that to trust a purely self-branded set of photos is likely to lead to disappointment. Conversely, if they continue to see your dishes and drinks on the profiles of other users, they are more likely to trust the quality and therefore are more likely to visit your business.
Photography: Yes, or No?
If there’s one thing your restaurant or bar business should invest in this year, it’s high quality photography. From boosting your SEO efforts to driving conversion and giving you plenty to share across your different online channels and marketing outlets, great photography feeds into the consumers need for beautiful and aesthetically pleasing things.
Dining out and going for drinks has become a multi-sensory experience – and businesses have the power to begin that experience before a customer has even set foot in the door.
For more information on how to use product photography for your business, and to receive a tailored quote for our photography services, get in touch with Social Loop today.