Last summer, a new burger joint opened down the street and, with its sleek white tile, bright lighting and impossible looking $14 milkshakes, even the least conservative food critics accused the owners of designing the interior and the menu just to please Instagrammers. They were probably right.
Meanwhile in Boston, a just-opened luxury steakhouse is basically saying “HOLD MY BEER, PHOTOGRAPH IT, AND USE THE FUCKING GINGHAM FILTER.” Some social media influencers who plan on photographing their food at Boston Chops’ Downtown Crossing location will have the option of sitting at a custom-made $10,000 table that has been designed just for people who stare at their Crispy Oxtail Croquettes through an iPhone screen.
According to Forbes, the table has a number of customisable features, including adjustable lights with varying intensities and settings for the “colour temperature.” The restaurant’s owners, Chris Coombs and Brian Piccini, met with assorted social media influencers, architects, and photographers to ensure that the table would provide the perfect setting for anyone using the hashtag #blessed to describe a $99 Chateaubriand.
“Social media is a big part of the dining scene today, and we didn’t have to think about it when we opened Boston Chops South End five years ago,” Coombs said in a press release. “Now, it is imperative that photos of restaurant interior [sic] and food are beautiful when they are posted online by influencers. It is a great marketing tool for people to see our food, décor, and cocktails, and hopefully entice them to check it out for themselves.” (Right now, the most enticing thing to me is the real and exciting possibility that I could “accidentally” elbow a table full of influencers when I’m on my way to the bathroom).
Although Boston Chops says that its new table (which I assume one reserves by calling and asking for the D-bag Seat) is the “the first and only Instagram table in the country,” that probably won’t be the case for long—especially as restaurateurs continue to reap the benefits of design features that practically beg for the ‘gram.
Last July, The Verge highlighted the “Instagram triggers” in some carefully curated San Francisco restaurants, which included “banana print wallpaper in the bathrooms,” patterned or vintage-looking tile in public spaces, old-fashioned menu boards, and interior and exterior murals. Spanish restaurant Bellota even boasted a set of ‘gram-friendly adjustable, customisable lamps above its bar.
That same month, London restaurant Dirty Bones offered its customers “foodie Instagram packs,” which included an LED light, a clip-on wide angle lens, a combination tripod-selfie stick, and a charger. “People love to share what they’re eating on social media, so we wanted to put together something that made it easier to get that perfect shot regardless of the lighting or time of day," a Dirty Bones spokesperson told Mashable.
I mean, if your food has to have special lighting and adjustable colour temperatures to look decent on an iPhone app, then maybe the problem isn’t with your restaurant’s ambiance.
Regardless, I’m craving either an unreasonable milkshake or a $99 steak. Check my feed to see which one I went with!