We eat with our eyes. It’s an old expression that is more relevant than ever. That’s because social media now exerts such a huge influence on what, and even where, many diners choose to eat. Never before has the way each dish looked been so vital, with customers often spending as long prepping their food-dream Instagram shot as it took the kitchen to prep the food in the first place.
In Australia, about 65 per cent of diners take photos of their food to share online, according to research by OpenTable, with 31 per cent saying they’ve dined at a particular restaurant because of an image they’ve seen online. It’s the best-looking dishes that will ultimately draw the likes – and perhaps even the crowds. This is, after all, a country where more than 35 per cent of the population is signed up to Instagram. That’s a whole heap of potential new customers.
“Food is a social event to be shared and people get excited when a gorgeous-looking plate of food is put in front of them,” says Bunzl’s hospitality buyer Jason Ferreira. “A quick photograph posted online by an impressed customer and you instantly have a recommendation to all their friends.”
Plating up, then, has become an evermore serious business – one which requires serious plates. And bowls. And dishes of all sizes, shapes and colours. Long gone are the days of uniform, round-edged, bone-white crockery. Now, presentation is everything. Each meal needs to show a personality of its own.
Bunzl tours the world to gain inspiration on what customers want to see when they’re ordering a dish – and what they want to show off when they post that same dish online. Our designers have created a wealth of elegant products that will elevate any meal, from the dipping curves of a polished serving plate to dishes that come with firmer lines: shallow squares, robust rectangles and fine oblongs.
Jason says: “As you can see from our recent photography shoot, there is no excuse [for poor presentation]. Humble burger and chips, a simple steak and salad, lasagne, cottage pie or roast dinner – they can all be given a makeover to transform them into food heroes.”
And with so many people out there busily eating with their eyes, plate after plate of good-looking, taste-making food heroes is exactly what should be on the menu.