There was once a time when the thought of even taking a photo of your food before you ate was just absurd, but now it is a prerequisite. I must admit I even find myself taking photos of my food and restaurant I am in, even if just to send to my wife if I happen to be away on business.

I was speaking to a restaurateur in Bangkok who has an exceptionaal venue in Ekkamai, called the Melting Clock. He sells great food and drink yet said to me “These days no one cares about the food, only the photo”. As such not only has he developed the photo opportunity but the lighting too. “If the lighting is no good, then the photo is not good enough and the customer won’t post the photo”.

Customers photos has become the key marketing tool for restaurants and as such is redefining why and where we go to eat. This phenomena is global and not just Thailand.

Of course, it helps that Thailand is one of the biggest users of social media. Within a total population of 70 million people in Thailand, 50 million are Facebook users.  The importance of face in Thai culture means everyone is clambering to show they are living an awesome life. Posts of where they eat out becomes essential self-marketing to feed their egos.

Get the Experience right for that perfect photo

In Phuket recently I stopped for a coffee, yet this was no ordinary coffee shop. In fact the coffee itself felts peripheral (yet key for the business) to the motive for the customer to visit. They wanted that perfect photo by the giant Lilly leaves.

Cosy Beach Pattaya – The Monte Carlo of Instagram Moments

I was astonished as I walked along the view point at Cosy Beach to now see five restaurants, when just a few years ago it was only the popular Sky Gallery.

Every diner is set up to ensure the customer can get that perfect photo moment. Whilst the rest of Pattaya is currently quiet – due to Covid – this stretch was packed. Every restaurant full of weekenders from Bangkok.

What comes first, the food or the photo?

Hats off, the restaurants know what the customer wants – and it appears not to be primarily for food and drink (unless they are presented good enough for a photo).  They want that photo to share on their social media.

I can only applaud these places, as you must give the people what they want. Its a huge shift on what dining out used to be about.

If you are a business you need to market the fact you are a great place to get a photo. If you can get traction, then your customer will not only pay you for your services, but then market you with their photo. It doesn’t get much better for the business does it?

All it takes is a little self-marketing to get the ball rolling. In Thailand many restaurants use YouAreMIA.com to get social users in their area to initial share posts and photos on their business. It is the blue print to get others to do the same thing and then it becomes self-perpetuating.

Interesting times we find ourselves – restaurants are now far more an experience hub than just a place to pick up a bite to eat.

 

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