Food for thought: 4 in 10 diners post photos of restaurant meals on social media

LONDON — If you feel like you’re seeing more and more of your friends on social media constantly posting photos of their meals, you’re not imagining things. A new survey finds four in 10 diners snap pictures of their plates when eating at restaurants and promptly share them with their followers.

Researchers say the trend was, unsurprisingly, most common among millennials. A quarter of those between ages 25 an 34 upload images of their plates to their profiles when dining out in order to impress their friends.

Forty-two percent say they engage in the “food porn” trend simply to offer recommendations to others.

It’s clear that Instagram and Facebook play a major role in dining out for the 2,000 adults who were surveyed. In fact, one in five says they’d really like it if more restaurants added lighting filters on tabletops just so that they can take better looking pics for social media.

“Not only are diners using social as a research tool to decide where to eat, they are also integrating it into every part of their experience,” says Kirsty Morris, director at Barclaycard Payment Solutions, which commissioned the study, in a statement. The United Kingdom company has also developed an app called “Transplater” which features images of unfamiliar ingredients and descriptions of certain foods so diners know exactly what’s on their plates.

“This is particularly true of younger audiences; whether it’s taking pictures of meals, checking reviews or wanting to book directly from restaurants’ Instagram or Facebook accounts, there’s clearly a new social order for eating out,” adds Morris.

So it’s no surprise then that the survey showed that 21 percent of diners visit a restaurant’s social media accounts to see what the food looks like before deciding whether or not to eat there. And get this: 15 percent of diners won’t even bother eating at a place that has no social media presence or online menu to check out.

The survey may provide some interesting ideas for the social media giants: nearly three in 10 respondents would like for Facebook, Twitter and other major networks to offer the ability to book a reservation through their sites or apps.

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