• David B Townsend

Importance of Food Styling for Restaurants

Updated: Mar 9

Today’s restaurants try to keep up with social media posts by taking food-selfies to show off daily specials, new desserts, and other eye-catching posts. Most of these cell phone cameras take a basic photo, but lighting is often flat creating an image that may not accomplish the task of intrigue and calling out to be involved. One basic foundation to overcoming the quick impression on Instagram is to create a plate presentation that will overcome some lighting issues or composition of the frame. This comes from well thought our presentation, or food styling.


Food styling is the presentation of food on a plate. You create this presentation in the placement of items, variations of color through sauces, condiments, vegetables, even the shape and color of the plate itself. Steak on a plate with white potatoes and a few green beans may be a classic ''blue plate special" of days past, but it doesn't fly with today's sophisticated diner.


It begins before any element of cooking begins. Deciding how to build the presentation will dictate some of the methods you cook a particular item. Creamer potatoes in skin add a dark rustic accent, while the same potato peeled is a delicate white orb sitting in a pool of cranberry sauce is an entirely different look.



Your menu becomes the signature of your particular style or cuisine. According to Global Restaurant consultants Aaron-Allen Associates: "the menu is the single most important piece of marketing collateral that a restaurant has." Giving some fairly in-depth thought to how you present each item on your menu will make you realize that even if a guest takes a badly lite Instagram shot of your best dish, it still will look better than your competition due to an excellent presentation. Better yet, having professionally executed photography of the best items that you put out on media is the best way to 'brand' yourself and your menu.


A menu on your webpage and associated photos shared on social media determine whether a potential guest even walks in the door. You have complete control of how you show off your cuisine and create your brand through great visual presentations. Restaurants can benefit from hiring a food stylist to revamp their menu, update their social media presence, and have the potential guests find intrigue in your visual presentations. As a plan to highlight your best qualities, Townsend helps you create 'brand' by focusing on food styling, fine-photography, and compelling copy-writing to tell your story in social media and web design & content.



David B Townsend is a food writer, restaurant consultant working in Northern California

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