It was only a matter of time. Though it's not unusual for eateries to place plenty of importance on presentation ("we eat with our eyes first", and all that), the rise of amateur food photographers means that one US restaurant chain has now admitted that it actively designs dishes based on how good they will look on Instagram.
Chilli's Grill & Bar has revamped its menu in an attempt to make its meals stand out in the sea of filter-filled Instagram posts. Burgers are placed higher on a plate, fries arrive in stainless steel containers and, most interestingly of all, ingredients are picked for their social media friendly aesthetics, right down to which burger bun is used.
"We look a lot more at how the food is presented," Wyman Roberts, chief executive officer of Chilli's parent company Brinker International Inc, told Bloomberg.
"Food is the second most photographed thing, after yourself," Roberts said. "Selfies of people eating food is the sweet spot."
While the rest of the fast-food dining world looks to attract the booming "millennial" customer base, Chilli's is smartly going after what it calls "the new school" of diner — a tech-savvy, slightly older clientele that can do half of its marketing work for it with some well framed photo tweets and 'grams. Chilli's itself now has an Instagram account with 25,000 followers, and has been working to outfit its chain's tables with Ziosk tablets so that customers can pay bills and order drinks without hailing a member of staff.
While your pal's incessant lunchtime snaps may be a bore to you, the influence of such photo trends could have a bearing on what you're eating before too long. [Bloomberg]
Image by Jack Hope under Creative Commons licence
This post originally appeared on Gizmodo UK, which is gobbling up the news in a different timezone.