photos: www.clarkjamesdigital.com

Over the last 10 years, a lot has changed in the hospitality sector. It’s fair to say that social media has had a huge impact on restaurant concept design, restaurant and retail marketing and even on the menu curation.

47% of millennials say they text, tweet and Instagram while they eat – a concept that 10 years ago would of seemed rude. Now we are noticing that those consumers have the highest spending power. Today, we will study how social media has – and will – continue to shape the culinary landscape.

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It has the power to make or break

A restaurant’s reputation is everything, and what consumers are seeing on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, is informing their decisions on where to eat.

Social influencers such as bloggers, vloggers or even celebrities with large social media presences or reputable publication, can raise the profile of a restaurant, bar or pub in an instant.

Take Clerkenwell Boy for example. For many of Clerkenwell Boy’s 147,000 followers, his feed is their first port of call when choosing a restaurant, or even a particular dish. When Clerkenwell Boy posts a close-up of Bone Daddies ‘Boozy Weekend Brunch’, you can be pretty sure that by the time you get around to booking a table it will be fully booked.

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It has changed the way we relate to food

At a time where the shrinking currency, the recession and rising food/bar prices are apparent, the restaurant scene seems to be stronger than ever. We hear that retail sales are slowing, people are forgoing shopping, but one thing is certain: Good food is untouchable.

Research shows that millennial’s aren’t buying houses and cars, but food is one ‘luxury’ they can still afford. At this years FAB Forum, they spoke about how we visit new restaurants not for the food, but as an indicator of our social status. It’s saf to say that social media has changed the social aspects of eating out. Meals are often a time when people come together to celebrate life, culture and human relationships. Now mobile phones are at the heart of this, because they allow people to capture their experiences wherever they are and share them.

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It’s redesigning interiors

What’s the first thing you do when a beautiful plate of food arrives at your table? Instagram it. Like it or not, the documentation of the restaurant experience has become an integral part of eating out. And now savvy eateries have caught on, designing spaces and food to encourage social sharing.

One restaurant that has mastered the minimalist backdrop is LA’s Sqirl. Its marble tabletops, white tiled walls and mismatched china dishware provide the perfect backdrop for its colourful, vegetable-centric dishes, making it one of the most Instagrammed restaurants in the USA.

Ultimately, social media has transformed the way that consumers in 2016 eat out. From the way that curated social feeds can positively or negatively impact a brand’s reputation and impact its sales, to the way that digital audiences can be harnessed to pursue important agendas, it’s clear that social is a powerful tool for change.

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