This week I was lucky enough to eat lunch/dinner out in a restaurant or pub more often than I managed to get to my morning spin class.

The first time was a catch up with an old friend at Bill’s. I have long admired Bill’s as a brand and one of the reasons that they’ve had the success that they have had is down to the fact that they actually LISTEN to their customers. In fact, understanding customer views on their offer, service, food and more is SO important to them that they give out an iPhone with a pre-loaded survey on it with every bill. I do wonder how many might go missing, but then my more technologically advanced friend pointed out that it was a VERY old iPhone and was probably not worth what I thought it was.

Our Plan to Plate report tells us that 39% of customers will speak to a friend/family member before eating out at a restaurant/pub to get their opinion- making the ‘paying the bill’ part of the visit easy and focussing on the fact that the restaurant wants customer feedback will stick in a customer’s mind.

I won’t show you the terrible selfie that I took in Bill’s, but I will share with you some insight as to what style of eating out venues customers are posting on social media about- the below chart places fine dining restaurants at the top, and interestingly, the local pub also high up in the number three spot.

At the core of many consumer’s social media feeds are posts about aspirational living, so it’s no surprise to see the higher end of the eating out restaurants at the top when it comes to the most ’shared’ venues.

Instagram has become, no doubt, a key part of a marketeers toolkit, especially within the food and drink industry. But what is key to getting customers to talk about you on social media?

We’ve already seen the desire that customers have to take photos of their food, so making the plates look great is a must. This doesn’t just stop at the food but the tableware too. Think funky prints, bright colours, innovative additions – all these things help to create that WOW factor which generates a talking point.

Décor of course is another key element – including unique items or areas – essentially something that stands out and makes people want to take a photo of it. Finally, good lighting – not only does this help to create the ideal atmosphere but is also helps customers to take that perfect shot.

A couple of photographic examples from my night out at an “immersive dining experience” in North London are below- remember that I’m no David Bailey, but even so- pretty Instagrammable I think- ticking all the boxes of the things that customers tell us they want to see in order to share.

Tonight we have friends coming over for dinner and drinks, a strange mix of 3 musicians, a psychotherapist, a nurse and me- should be interesting. Tomorrow I’m planning a long bike ride, weather willing, to blow the cobwebs away and then a family day of board games, movies and a roast on Sunday.

Have a great weekend and please, if you have any insight questions, feel free to ask, there’s a wealth of information on this laptop that I’m always happy to share!

Katy Moses, Managing Director