Snapping for the ‘Gram: Designing Instagram-Friendly Restaurants

nice restaurant
nice restaurant

It’s common in restaurants to see people fish out their phones as soon as a dish is placed on the table before they dig in. These photos are later posted on social media, particularly Instagram, for friends and mutual connections to see and like. It’s also the norm to see people walk around a restaurant and snap a selfie anywhere that looks eye-catching.

This growing trend has caused restaurants to design their food and spaces with Instagram in mind. From rainbow-coloured treats to viral-worthy food combinations, restaurants see long lines around the block after their images go viral. Other entrepreneurs take a step further by enlisting the services of commercial construction companies to design their physical spaces to inspire customers to take as many photos as they can.

These restaurants are seeing results. According to research by Zizzi, a chain of Italian-inspired restaurants in Italy and the United Kingdom, 30 per cent of 18- to 35-year-olds actively avoid establishments with a weak Instagram presence. The social media platform has become the new word of mouth, becoming an authentic marketing tool for restaurants to take advantage of.

Designing an Instagram-Worthy Restaurant

Restauranteurs and designers approach restaurant design differently, now with photography in mind. From high ceilings to lighting, patterns and wallpaper, everything must be picture-perfect. More restaurants paint elaborate murals, install neon lights and embed floor tiles with interesting art so that guests will snap a photo and post them online.

Here are common elements that make an Instagram-friendly space:

Floor Tiles

Unique details on the floor can become your restaurant’s signature design. Patrons are also likely to snap photos of their shoes on the floor or the dish with the flooring serving as the backdrop.


Invest in natural light so that customers can snap a photo in the restaurant without turning on the flash feature of their phones. Use overhead spotlights with LED lights.


Striking wallpaper or wall art provides the perfect backdrop for photographs or food. Make sure that it is related to your brand and that customers are compelled to do a quick photoshoot before or after ordering, or while they wait for their meals.

Furnishings, Fixtures and Other Restaurant Elements

friends dining at a restaurant

Sofas and tabletops make for stunning photoshoot locations. Even the menu and plates play a role in what looks good on camera.

Don’t Forget the Food

Nothing is more disappointing to a customer when the food isn’t attractive and when it’s unpalatable despite the eye-catching backdrop. Create dishes that encourage people to fish out their phones to take a photo. Make unique menu items or work with your chef to see how best to plate a dish. Keep your displays organised, clean and graphically compelling in their packaging.

Make the dining experience as enjoyable as the backdrop and the food. Think of video worthy captures you can implement.  Some restaurants provide diners with Instagram kits, complete with miniature tripods.

Today’s diners love to take photos of their meals and their surroundings, then post these images for their followers to see. As a food and beverage owner, there are plenty of opportunities to benefit from selfie-loving customers so you can bring more customers to your restaurant and keep them coming back.

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