Apparently it's now acceptable to use your phone at the table. According to the Wall Street Journal, the New York based restaurant Empellón Cocina has implemented a new way of dealing with this once frowned-upon behavior. At the top of their menu it reads, “Empellón strongly discourages the use of cellphones, unless you’re posting food porn on Instagram. #Empellon.”
For many restaurant goers, a great meal comes with the obligatory photo, so why not put that prior annoyance to good use? This new intention not only makes diners more comfortable posting photos of the restaurant on social media outlets, but also boosts the reputation of these venues by displaying their delicious food and drinks.
“It’s almost like they are becoming a brand ambassador on behalf of the restaurant,” says Empellón co-owner David Rodolitz. Additionally, fan postings lead to an increased following on the restaurant’s own Instagram feed, informing them of dining specials and behind-the-scenes pictures.
While social media has become the main source for people to talk about bad meals, showing these aesthetically pleasing food photos overshadows the potential criticism. Now, some restaurants are even giving incentives to encourage photo taking and sharing. The restaurant Trencherman in Chicago offers the klappertaart, a Dutch-Indonesian pastry, for free to weekend brunch goers who can show they have more than 1,000 followers. Upper East Side’s 83½ restaurant offers a free hazelnut and espresso ice pop to Instagrammers who order a meal, and in return they want the customer to post a photo from the restaurant to their personal feed.
“You kind of post pictures because you want your friends to see where you’re at,” one Yelper Maggie Kosoyan told the Wall Street Journal, after recounting her dining experience, “You don’t want to [show] someone you are at a terrible brunch.”