November 17, 2020

A feast for the eyes: 3 reasons why imagery matters more for restaurants and QSRs

Written By
Rob Kenny, Director of Restaurant Partnerships

You’ve heard it before: A picture is worth a thousand words. For marketers selling food or drinks, a picture could be worth far more than that. Commercial food photography can help restaurants tell a story about their brand, expand their customer base, and showcase their newest menu items, all leading to an increase in profits. With the US digital advertising and marketing market estimated to be $87.1 billion this year, using visually engaging images online for websites, review sites or digital ads is the most powerful and under-discussed marketing element for restaurants looking to stand out and cut through the clutter. Here are three key reasons why food photography is especially valuable for restaurant marketers: first impressions influence guest choices, food photography increase online sales, and images extend connections to your brand.

Increase Sales with Good First Impressions 

All restaurants should assess their food photography as their business objectives and values evolve. Professional food shots and imagery can evoke an emotional response and strengthen the relationship with consumers. Consumers form a first impression in the first 50 milliseconds. That is why the right professional food imagery is so important in making a good first impression both online and in the restaurant. According to Feed Me Content, 82% of people buy a dish because of how it looks in a picture. By including compelling imagery, restaurants can be top-of-mind for repeat and new guests who see its digital ads and offers.

Expand Your Reach

With eye-catching imagery restaurants can create a digital brand experience that entices and introduces guests to the in-restaurant dining experience. Millennials and Gen Zers are powering the experience economy and with relevant, visual storytelling through food photography, restaurants can better appeal to this demographic. For traditional restaurant brands, this younger audience has been harder to reach and selecting a digital rewards partner, like app-based Dosh that integrates food photography into their cash back offers, can strategically target this group to drive sales and create lifelong repeat guests. Another tactic to improve online ordering is to provide photo-based menus in online ordering which increased their conversion rates by 25% over text-based menus. 

Make an Emotional Connection Digitally

During the COVID-19 pandemic restaurants were pushed into new digital channels, which ultimately improved the user experience for ordering, whether for takeout, curbside pickup, or delivery. Fresh and compelling menu imagery is central to this kind of restaurant business model as visual communications and visual IQ are outpacing other kinds of IQ. Professional food photography that tells a story of the brand through its food and menu offerings helps build greater trust with guests. This emotional connection translates into greater marketing campaign effectiveness and profits. UK-based Institute of Practitioners in Advertising found that marketing campaigns that included emotional content performed better than campaigns that mixed emotional and rational content (31% vs 26%) and twice as well as campaigns with only rational content (31% vs 16%).

The increase in visual marketing is not just a generational trend but one with lasting power as internet-connected devices and consumer dining behaviors shift to online ordering, meal kits, take out and delivery. To transform digital marketing investments into sales, restaurants should review their menu photography whether that’s on their own site, social media channels, review sites, and other digital marketing platforms to include storytelling, branding consistency, and emotional connection. Additionally, restaurants should seek a digital rewards marketing partner like Dosh that understands the value and power of food photography, and integrates it into its app platform and cash back offers. Dosh helps restaurants improve their return on advertising spend (ROAS) within the restaurant’s branding and loyalty experience creating a win-win virtuous loop for both restaurants and diners.

Click here to speak with someone at Dosh about how we use imagery to create a more impactful cash back experience for brands.

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