Social media swaying restaurant-goers

by Rebekah Schouten
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Woman taking picture of food at restaurant with cell phone, social media
Almost half of diners said they snap photos of their food while dining out to share on social media.

NEW YORK — Social media has become an integral part of consumers’ everyday lives, and according to Zagat’s latest National Dining Trends survey, it’s influencing how and why they dine out.

Sixty per cent of U.S. diners said they browse food photos on social media, the survey found, and 75% said they have chosen a place to eat based on these photos alone.

So who is taking and posting these photos to social media? Almost half of diners nationally (44%) said they snap photos of their food while dining out to share on social media, and 19% said they have picked a specific restaurant just to take food photos.

Avocado toast
Avocado toast is one of the most popular dishes photographed for posting on social media.

Once at the restaurant, 60% of diners admitted to stopping their companions from eating so they can photograph the food. Fifty per cent surveyed said they have taken pictures of every dish at the table, and 5% have even asked another table if they could photograph their dish. When posting the pictures to social media, 41% said they do so right at the table.

The foods appearing most often on social media feeds include trendy foods such as avocado toast, which 33% of respondents said they “love,” up 24% from last year. Ramen, sriracha and pork belly are also popular; each received “love” votes from 31% of respondents.

However, not all trendy foods are earning favor or social media space from consumers. Food mashups such as the cronut, ramen burger and rainbow bagels are on their way out, according to the 38% of national diners who said they are “over it.”
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