Nuggets, Nibbles, Morsels, Crumbs
For about five years, Charlie Hopper has written a restaurant marketing column for Food & Drink magazine. Turns out, that’s enough good advice to fill an e-book: Nuggets, Nibbles, Morsels, Crumbs: Selected Restaurant Marketing Columns from Food & Drink Magazine is an excellent companion-piece to Hopper’s Selling Eating: Restaurant Marketing Beyond the Word “Delicious.”
If you or someone you love (or even just like a little bit) is involved with getting people interested in repeatedly choosing a particular restaurant, the tons of useful ideas from both/either of these books will be very helpful. (Also, entertaining.) (Also, at times, challenging-in-a-good-way.)
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Selling Eating: Restaurant Marketing Beyond the Word “Delicious”
If you get out of your car every morning and go into a building where you’re involved with restaurant marketing, you might be like to know “The Seven Very Specific People Your Restaurant Needs to Reach,” or “Fifteen Forbidden Food Words to Never Use.” Maybe you’d like to skim interviews with celebrated food photographer Michael Somoroff, and renowned researcher Bob Drane?
This is a book of insights, advice, interviews, how-to’s, tips, and occasionally challenging restaurant marketing notions drawn from over 20 years on the job: you’ll find something useful.
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Food Photography: When Food Looks Perfect, It Doesn’t Look Good.
Brains are funny. Workin’, all the time, hard to fool (until we make them think too hard) and quick—they analyze and reach conclusions on an unconscious level and never bother to let the logical, conscious, wide-awake brain know a decision has been made. It happens every time you look at a photograph of food.
Before you even realize, your brain has declared, “Nope” or “Doubtful” or “Hey, remaining four senses—would you-all find out more about that thing we just saw? The pleasure center representatives and biological survival crews up here are kind of interested in seeing what we'd have to do to negotiate a piece of something that looks like that.” It‘s the latter reaction, of course, that your food photographer is going for.
Here are some attributes of food photography that will make your quick-to-judge brain interested in finding out more.
1. The food is not fake-y.
Okay, it can be beautiful and perfectly lit and well photographed, but the food itself should have a realism that makes it seem like it could be eaten. With utter symmetry, squared-off corners and surgically sliced meats, our brains are immediately suspicious of something that seems artificial.
Consider This Next Time: Crumbs, sloppiness on the sides or a little drip that couldn't be controlled included in the final shot.
The brain takes these cues as proof that what we're seeing is real—a little chaos in the salad or the toppings matches our actual experiences with the best food we've had. A completely controlled, rigid presentation can be beautiful, but it isn't natural. Brains trust a little imperfection.
An Exception: I'm thinking of an old poster for the “Got Milk?” campaign that shows a cupcake on which every aspect of the icing and cake has been presented as overly stylized perfection, and it looks reallllllly good. Generally, those early “Got Milk?” billboards had food photography that made you want the peanut butter sandwich or cookie or brownie, despite being idealized.
2. The food has context.
A couple of current TV commercials from the QSR world use contextual clues well. Arby‘s wants to be thought of as the expert on meats. So even with the most minimal of backdrops, they include a hand-model outfitted as a (cleaned-up) butcher-type character and a cutting board. KFC is showing its food in all kinds of nostalgic settings—a modified TV console, an old serving tray—to recapture the glory of the Colonel's heyday. Over in casual dining land, the pubs are still making things as neutral and unidentifiable as possible: a few clumps of uncut vegetables to one side, a pepper mill, a tablecloth, knives flashing and flames crackling. Everything blends together.
Consider This Next Time: What does your restaurant trulyRead More