As a “self-proclaimed foodie” I like many of my friends, take great pride in curating a vast, wide array of Instagram “must-eats.” Now that Instagram allows you to save posts and videos and divide them up into whatever “collections” you choose…well the world is officially my oyster. I have boards for travel, food in New York and London, and even memes I’ve stumbled upon.

It wasn’t until recently when I was put in charge of picking a restaurant for an upcoming girls’ night, that I realized how heavily social media has changed the landscape within food choices, and how millennials pick where they’re going to spend their dimes.

My immediate reaction was to wipe through my Instagram collections, hoping one of the gooey, perfectly sliced so-delicious-looking-you-can-almost-smell-it images would catch my eye. A few did, and as I stumbled onto their Instagram pages (or non-existent pages) I dwindled down my options. I found myself treating each restaurant or eatery like a mini-influencer. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit it, but I looked at the number of followers they had and the quality of their content. Did they post frequently? Were their images clear, high quality? All of these weighed on my mind, did I want to spend my money here, or would it be a big waste of time?

QSR Automations states that “trust” is “one of the top reasons” customers choose a restaurant or food location. “Customers want to know that they can trust that their service and food quality will be consistent. Social media pages are a great way to establish transparency.”

It’s no shock, millennials love experiences. Many of my friends live in shoe boxes but travel every weekend. They skim on certain items but ball out on delicious, perfectly crafted meals.

This is where the importance of social footprints come into play for people like me. Because just as easily as you can find eateries, or food brands, you can promote them. Food NewsFeed has said that “customer engagement is where you’ll create loyalty and community. Foster your existing relationships, engage with the people who already love your food, and spread their good word. This goes back to word-of-mouth. It’s [social media] a perfect chance to let your best advocates sell your restaurant for you.”

Restaurants, and food brands no longer exist solely on their own, or just within the dishes they serve or the products they produce. Just like companies, or influencers, you must be everything for everyone. Millennials want to know that the places and companies where they spend their money understand the important of an online presence, because in the end—if you didn’t Instagram it, did it really happen?

Do you feel that social media has changed the way you experience your food, or meals out?  

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