“Wait, don’t eat it yet! I need to take a picture.”
When people go out to dinner, the first five minutes will probably be spent getting the perfect picture for Instagram. You’ve got to get the right lighting, choose the right filter, write the right caption and of course, top it all of with the right hashtags. #foodie #millenial
So when I read this article titled ‘How Instagram Has Ruined Restaurants‘, I couldn’t help but laugh. I don’t actually upload my food very often but I do take plenty of pictures of it so I have dotted this post with a few of them, just to exacerbate the point.
The writer of this article expresses her concerns that ‘Instagram is actually influencing the food we eat and the environment we eat in’. What she has described there is ‘marketing’. Advertising is nothing new; we’ve been exposed to billboards, posters and TV adverts of people drinking branded brown fizzy liquid and smiling for decades. Instagram is just another medium for promotion, if not a more authentic one because the people who are posting pictures are documenting their genuine* experience in that restaurant.
And why are restaurants and coffee shops complaining about free positive exposure? A Michelin-star restaurant has banned diners from taking pictures of their food, which I think is beyond petty. Gordon Ramsey, the gem that he is, responded on Twitter:
He’s right – it’s 2017, the era of oversharing. Everything we do is posted online now, so what is wrong about wanting to take a picture of some food that is aesthetically pleasing?
At the end of the day, this feels like another case of outrage for the sake of outrage. I don’t think these restaurant owners really care if people are posting on Instagram, but are just looking for another way to blame millennials for the downfall of society. Yes, that may sound overdramatic, but my generation seems to be to blame for everything wrong in the world right now; from the housing marketing to marriage, we have ruined it all.
The joke that ‘if you didn’t post it, did it really happen?’ has gotten old. A photograph of some avocado on toast could actually document a catch-up over brunch with an old friend. A fancy dinner might show part of a big celebration, maybe someone’s birthday or engagement. An overindulgent milkshake could just be a treat to yourself after working hard. Food is just another way to capture a memory. I can go back through the camera roll on my phone and remember a night when I had an amazing time with my best friends just from a picture of a cocktail. And I also love just remembering how good something tasted. Why does this ‘ruin restaurants’?
Michel Roux, one of the restaurant owners above, said he was ‘upset’ that people were getting their phones out at dinner. Surely there are much bigger issues in our society than whether or not someone thinks their carbonara is pretty?