Great blogs like ramentology, food porn daily and gastrofotonomia are built upon one concept: food photography. Today we live in a fast-paced world of sharing and exploring through social media. Everyone has a camera, most can even whip out their phone to take a quality photo. A few restaurants, however, aren’t amused with the avid instagrammers or food bloggers anymore.
In Restaurants Turn Camera Shy, Helene Stapinski reported in that many restaurants are fighting food photography. Many owners are
saying enough is enough with the distracting flashes, obscure positions and hindrance to the atmosphere they worked so hard to create. Chef David Bouley said table photography “totally disrupts the ambience” and “It’s hard to build a memorable evening when flashes are flying every six minutes.”
Although I understand Mr. Bouley’s frustration, he needs to remember the old saying “the customer is always right”. Unless it truly disrupts a second parties’ experience I believe the restaurants are harming their repution. Bouley mentioned in the article that his solution was inviting photographers into the back kitchen to take shots, as to not distract other patrons. Although it may remedy the issue of interrupting other dinner parties, it detracts from a hospitable environment when the chef reprimands a customer from taking a picture.
I also believe many restaurant owners enforcing the no food photography rule are neglecting the incredible impact social media offers. When I go to a new restaurant with my friends it’s like an adventure or a new find. If I go to the ordinary chain around the corner I won’t instagram my meal, blog about my experience or foursquare my location, but it’s similar to bragging rights. I’ll brag to my friends and they’ll want to try the new place too, but only if I can take a picture. Social media offers a whole new network of free publicity to the restaurant.
What’s more important to you – reaching new audiences through social media or maintaining an intimate atmosphere with current customers?