Food selfies have taken over restaurants, and some owners aren't happy about it. Some restaurants have put an end to "foodstagramming" in their restaurants. But is it realistic to ban food photos in this time of sharing everything on social media?
Some restaurants have already banned food selfies. Michel Roux has prohibited selfies at his British Michelin-starred restaurant, Waterside Inn.
"I’m really getting so upset about people taking pictures. We put up a card at the door - ‘No photos, please,’” said Michel Roux, according to the British paper The Telegraph.“What are they doing? Maybe once during the meal you want to take a little photo of something because it’s unusual. But what about the flavors?" added Roux.
Roux banned customers taking photos of food because he feels it takes away from the experience of eating the food. Another restaurant that bans food photographs is Carthage Must Be Stopped. The Brooklyn restaurant also bans photos except for photos taken at their table. Another Brooklyn restaurant, Chef's Table, also bans foodstagramming but has professional photos of their meals on their website that customers can share.
While there may be a generational reason for Roux's ban ( he's 76), Millenials take pictures of everything- especially a good meal. As long as it doesn't interfere with other peoples' meals, let customers take the food photos.
Many see food selfies as free promotion for the restaurant and just a way to show appreciation for their delicious and visually appealing meal. In this time of sharing food selfies, food photos can help bring in new customers to a restaurant or inspire them to try new food. Foodstagramming can also showcase beautiful photography and add material to favorite food blogs or social media sites.
While Roux is against taking pictures of food in restaurants, Gordon Ramsey is cool with customer food selfies. In typical Gordon Ramsey fashion, he described Roux as "bloody pompous" and said those unhappy customers that can't take photos "vote with their feet." Ironically, the Michelin Guide that awarded three stars to Roux's Waterside Inn posts food selfies on their website.
Hopefully, Roux can see that food photos are just a part of modern times. However, Roux does have a point that food selfies shouldn't overwhelm a diner's experience. As long as foodstagramming isn't obtrusive, a good meal can be shared on social media.
Restaurants can partner with foodies to help market their restaurants. Roux should welcome the foodie photos to the restaurant's website to promote the stuffy image Waterside Inn now has. Foodstagramming may be the new way for customers to show their love of food and share that enthusiasm with the world.