Article by Asiyih Linz, Marketing Manager, Second Sight Design
A picture tells 1,000 words and in turn has the potential to capture thousands of likes, comments, and impressions when a guest is inspired to share on social media.
So, it’s no coincidence that restaurant properties are incorporating flashy décor and cheeky art installations when designing their spaces, in the hopes of creating something that will appear in social media. Even small details can feed the aspirational lifestyle content that Instagram thrives on. Not only do these integrations create a deeper connection with the guest by helping to tell your brand story in a big way, but they also create an opening for your guests to be part of the story.
With so much competitive content on Instagram, influencers and general users alike are looking for that unique “insta-worthy” moment to stand out when sharing with their friends and followers. The “food porn” trend has led to restaurants racing to create visually unique foods that photograph well. While this certainly can be successful, it might not be sustainable or compatible with every concept. For a restaurateur or chef that prioritizes food quality and consistency, creating dishes that appeal to the eyes over the tastebuds isn’t a winning recipe.
Restaurateurs who don’t want to chase food visual food trends, can still reach Instagram’s 2 billion active users, but it takes thoughtful design to make an impact. While not every restaurant has a picturesque location or a big budget, a thoughtful visual interplay can create opportunities for guests to snap and share that will last well beyond their visit. Besides the free advertising to the platform’s billions of users each piece of tagged content brings from a paying guest, it also creates a library of photography with repost potential to keep a restaurant’s feed feeling fresh and authentic.
Case Study: The Rambler Coffee
Second Sight Design created a design campaign around a modest budget for Rambler Coffee, located inside a roadside remodeled motel. The concept fed off 70’s design making a comeback, and the calculated assumption that everyone was “doing it for the ‘gram.” Through intentional design, came numerous opportunities to snap a branded photo while enjoying a cup of coffee (and of course, Instagram darling, avocado toast). The space revs up a feeling of playful nostalgia of the era in every thoughtful detail. A hand-painted mural inviting visitors to “Check In & Chill Out” marks the Café entrance, branded artwork of a California retro license plate adorns the walls and there’s a handful of old-school arcade games to entertain diners. Menus, drinks sleeves and coffee cups all reinforce the brand story by using bright colors and fonts reminiscent of gas station signage of the past. After guests refuel on local brews, they’re dropped a check that’s clipped to an old school car manual.
These photo-friendly design elements are fun, surprising and shareable. Perhaps most importantly, they appeal to popular social subcultures – coffee lovers and retro design aficionados. By highlighting and amplifying your guests’ affinities through branding, restaurateurs can create positive micro-experiences at every guest touchpoint. These positive on-site interactions will seamlessly generate social content that further supports the brand. These baked-in branded touchpoints tend to be more sustainable, less operationally challenging, and far less fleeting than food trends.