5 tips to improve digital menu photography and sell more

Did you know 85% of online users admitted that having images of the dishes in the digital menu drives them to try out new dishes every once in a while?

Such is the magic of digitization. Every restaurant has a few best selling dishes on the menu, some are run-of-the-mills, while others are exotics. But then there are always a few that hardly get chosen. The reason is simple - customers have never heard about them and they are skeptical of trying a new dish, especially if it is highly-priced. After all, we all want to get the best bang for the buck.

Customers are coming to your website to see your menu and what the food looks like. To keep up with their expectations, creating a digital menu for your restaurant is inevitable. A digital menu offers several advantages including a more detailed menu with descriptions such as ingredients, preparation time, nutritional information as well as attractive images, more scope for customization and hence better customer experience, quick ordering process, and minimization.

One of the most effective ways to make a digital menu appealing is by using high-quality images of your dishes. Here are some top tips to make sure your food makes your customers crave more and spend more.

Maintain consistency

In branding, one of the primary rules of thumb is consistency. A uniform visual identity is a key to how customers experience your brand, besides generating awareness and recollection. So if you decide to shoot one poke bowl overhead have all poke bowls be shot overhead.

This idea must be implemented on every level of branding, and the same goes for pictures of your food. The coherency must be maintained not only on the menus but also for the pictures that you use on other communication channels like social media, billboards, etc.

Things like texture, lighting, and color are the primary ingredients of maintaining consistency across all food images. For instance, it always helps to ensure that all pictures are taken during the same time of the day if you’re using natural light.

It’s also important to understand the style of photography that goes with the type of restaurant you are. The food images on a fast-food restaurant’s digital menu are completely different from that of a casual dining one. By not choosing the right style, you’re likely to create confusion about your brand.

Give lighting and color top priority

Most professional photographers recommend that while working with food, it’s always better to shoot the photos in natural lighting. This not only provides even look to the image but also makes the colors pop out. However, if natural light is not an option, you can always set up lighting umbrellas and other equipment to create an impression of natural light in a studio.

Food photography allows you to have a lot of fun with color. You can use an accent color to draw focus on the dish or use popping colors to frame it. The idea is to make sure that the hero of the image is the food and the way you use color to compose your photo plays a huge part in alluring the viewer towards the dish.

Use a smart strategy

Just because you’re creating a digital menu doesn’t mean you need to photograph each and every item on the menu. Think long and hard about whether this is necessary and only if you can provide logical explanations for why all the food items need an accompanying image, should you go for this strategy. Or else, the best way to go forward is to identify and photograph the high-profit items or innovative dishes from the digital menu. This will push customers to pay more attention to these food items and in turn push profits up for your restaurant.

Besides, too many images on the menu run the risk of making it look too congested, thus confusing the customer. If you absolutely must use photos of all the food items, make sure that you give ample breathing space to each image and food description.

Create realistic images

In a bid to create too appetizing an image, you also end up running the risk of cheating your customers. For instance, a very close shot of bite-sized macarons can look quite big in the photograph, giving a wrong impression to customers.

It’s absolutely fine to use post-production to make certain corrections to improve the look of the image, but then make sure the representation of your dish is accurate. Even things like portion sizes of the dishes on the image matters. No one likes to be deceived, especially not a paying customer. The objective should always be to keep a balance between enhancing an image and keeping it real.

Hire professionals

Equipped with a smartphone, everyone is a photographer now, but that does not mean we’re all proficient in photography. The difference in picture quality that you get from a professional photographer and an amateur is very evident. Of course, just going out and getting a professional Canon camera is not enough to get great food photography.

Instead of taking plain images of the food, stylists can help create conceptual shoots, that can spark their appetite.

Show them who you are!

When it comes to online ordering, the digital menu has the power to captivate hungry customers. The technology is only as powerful as the visual aids they use to attract customers.

So it’s important to take the time and make sure that your menu is as well composed for your customers. When used effectively they can ensure that every customer that comes to your online ordering website or app craves every item they see.

What do you think? Can effectively deploying creatives make a difference between having a successful or failing online business?