How to Optimise Your Menu Through Visuals

17 Apr 2019 | Blog

Restaurants often overlook the importance of their menu. What they don’t know is that menus can be a very useful marketing tool in attracting more customers. It is the vehicle that promotes their food to patrons and it is usually the first thing they will search for online to determine whether there is something they might like to eat.
One of the best ways to entice customers to order is by including high-quality food images that drive appetite appeal and, ultimately, do the selling for you. A common mistake that venue owners and managers tend to make, is to take photos of a meal to merely display what the dish is. But when no care is taken to make the dish look it’s best, you may end up losing out to competitors who have taken the time to make their food look appetising. It is time restaurateurs make a point of taking high-quality food images to optimise the strength of their menu. This is particularly important when your food is being displayed alongside other venues in an order ahead app.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are a few key tips on how to take the best quality food images using your smartphone:

Drive appetite appeal through presentation
Customers eat with their eyes – it is not enough to just take a picture of your food on a plate if it is presented poorly and there are a few simple ways venues can optimise their dish just by presenting their food well.
First, use contrasting colours. Deep blue or grey plates allow the food to pop and stand out against the dish itself.
Second, add vibrancy through greenery. The green cues freshness which is a key thing diners look for in quality food. You can do this by garnishing your food with herbs or fresh limes or you could even add a vase of flowers behind the dish.
Finally, play around with texture and negative space. Timber tables are a great base for food as they add a rustic texture. Don’t be afraid to position other plates, glassware or vases in the background of your dish. This will give depth to the visual without taking away from the focal point being the dish.
Know your angle
There is nothing worse than an image that just looks a little bit off-centre or a little too close-up. Image composition and good framing is important. Even if you don’t have a professional background in photography, it’s easy to learn composition. For instance, casual foods such as burgers, fries, or pizza look amazing when they are positioned at a 45 degree angle, in the centre of the shot. This shows off the detail of the dish from a good perspective. Zooming in too closely may result in the food appearing greasy and unappetising so it is important to give the dish some space.
Top-down images work well to capture group dining scenarios as you not only get a good visual of the food, you also capture the group-dining occasion taking place which many will resonate with. These images work well in social media where customers are planning their next social get together with friends or family.
Light well and edit
The best lighting to shoot your dishes is natural light. Make sure to position your dish so that it captures the light from the side or front, instead of over the top of the food as top lighting can tend to make your food appear washed out. Lastly, always edit your photos once you’ve taken them. You can do this directly from your phone’s default camera features or through a third-party app like VSCO, Pixlr, or Snapseed. With these tools you can easily adjust the brightness and saturation of the image to make it really visually appealing.
There are so many tools today that allow anyone with a smartphone to take good quality photographs without having to spend too much time learning all about photography. Having great photos of your food will go a long way to improving the quality of your menu and, hopefully, drive more people to order from it.
One of the best things about the order ahead app TableTime is that it allows venues to build their own menus and edit them as they see fit. This includes uploading visuals for all meal items. For more information about the app, visit today.