Chili’s spends $750,000 per year on an egg wash to make their burger buns appear more aesthetically pleasing and appetizing to social media users and tech-savvy customers.
This year, social media ad spending will hit $23.85 billion worldwide. Brands in every region of the globe, particularly in Canada and the United States, are looking to take advantage of the ubiquity of social media and its widespread adoption by users everywhere. One aspect of social media ad spending is similar to what Chili’s is doing.
Chili’s Is Making Its Food ’Shareable’
In order to make the restaurant’s buns look impeccable on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, the Tex-Mex dining chain has taken part in a food photography enhancing initiative. One element in its endeavor is to make the food look more succulent and sumptuous on social media, a move aimed at millennial consumers.
Chili’s wants to make its food more "shareable" and one way to do this is to make the food photogenic. In other words, the company wants its menu items to appear superb in photos.
Reportedly, Chili’s is spending $750,000 per year for an egg wash to make its buns glaze and glisten in photographs. Moreover, it will be utilizing stainless steel baskets to hold its fries and is coming up with a new way to stack ribs.
"We look a lot more at how the food is presented," said Wyman Roberts, chief executive officer of Chili’s parent company Brinker International, in an interview with Bloomberg. "Food is the second most photographed thing, after yourself. Selfies of people eating food is the sweet spot."
Chili’s Is Becoming Tech-Savvy
This isn’t the only way that Chili’s is revamping its image to appear hip and in touch with today’s advanced technology.
Last year, Chili’s equipped all of its tables with tablets to allow diners to get refills of their beverages and pay the bills without having to engage with a waiter. Also, the restaurant chain is permitting American Express customers to garner rewards when they pay through their tablets.
Although Chili’s is trying to grab the ever-important millennial demographic, these moves are apparently geared towards the "forward-thinking customer." Of course, Chili’s is making a play for the Chipotle clientele with its new and improved dining experience.
Adweek makes a suggestion to the casual dining establishment: don’t go overboard with digital.
"The key here for Chili’s is not taking the whole digital thing overboard,” writes Tonya Garcia. "… taking all of the personalization out of the experience doesn’t enhance, but rather detracts from the meal. People want to both take their pictures of their cake and eat it too."
What’s next for Chili’s? Placing food on plates designed specifically for smartphone photos? Hey, they’re doing already that in Tel Aviv.
Other Restaurants Going Digital
Labor costs remain the biggest cost for most restaurants. As governments continue to hike the minimum wage, dining establishments are automating their workplaces. Here is a list of some well-known restaurants embracing technology:
- Pizza Hut is installing self-ordering tabletops at its restaurants.
- McDonald’s is testing out self-ordering kiosks to customize your order.
- Momentum recently built a burger-preparing machine (it creates 360 burgers an hour).
- TGI Fridays is testing out Ziosk tablets for orders, bill payments, and games.
If Chili’s thinks this will pay off in the end, with its 25,000 Instagram followers, then all the power to them. As long as the company doesn’t try too hard to make the food look good but not actually taste great, then most customers won’t be too bothered by this marketing trick. It’s worked for McDonald’s for a long time already.