All posts filed under “What’s New

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Seven Tips for Taking Perfect “Food Porn” Pictures

initial food photoshoot (23 of 1)

Want your restaurant’s Instagram to stand out from all the others? Follow these easy tips & tricks to make your feed shine!

1. Get That Angle – The key to a great shot is getting the right angle. Try a variety of angles, & different vantage points to see which one suits your dish best. Always keep it interesting.
Light Is Key – The right lighting will either make or break your shot. Natural lighting is always best, but have fun playing with lighting until you get a shot you like. Avoid random shadows which can be distracting & unprofessional.

2. Tell A Story – A photo is worth a thousand words & photography is all about telling a story. Play with the set up of the shot (i.e. how do you fill the frame, what’s around the plate or table setting, what are the ingredients in the dish?)

3. Background Check – The subject should be the main focus not the background. Select something that complements the tones & colors of your food, and matches the style of your product/brand.
Get Creative – Think outside of the box & keep your followers interested. Play with locations, close-ups, & even video!

4. Add Ons – Take your feed to the next level with other photo applications to collage, create memes, double exposures etc. The ap store is your oyster!
Engage Followers – The best way to build your brand is to engage your customer. Encourage followers to snap food pics & tag your account. Create photo competitions, hashtags, & share behind the scenes content. It will make your customers feel extra special, increase followers & most importantly it’s FREE advertising for you.

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All About Art: the Creative Expression and Finishing Touch of your Decor

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Say you’ve opened your new restaurant. You’ve thought about POS systems, furniture, equipment, flatware, menu, and staff, but have you thought about decor? The final touches to your walls and tables will add ambience and character to your new spot, so take a moment to consider some cool options that will offset your restaurant well.

For the tables, flowers are gorgeous, but they also are expensive. They will need to be replaced almost daily, if not daily, and plastic florals do not set a good tone. If you live close to a farm or source farm goods, then source local flowers from the same supplier and have cheap, local, vibrant hues in the summer. In the winter, consider seasonal greenery and autumnal displays to keep things fresh, seasonal, and cost effective. Looking for a cheap, trendy alternative? Succulents look great on the table, are easy to maintain, and won’t break the bank.

For the walls, you can commission a local photographer to take pictures of your crew and food and blow them up to showcase what you do best – food. If you’re a restaurant specializing in food from a specific region – say Italy – then showcase that with spectacular images from the area. Black and white looks great with a colorful decor, and color adds a nice pop to a neutral palate

If you want to go into more traditional art, consider buying originals before getting prints. Local artists will be thrilled to have a venue to showcase their wares. Consider doing a different artist every month, or even showcase several different artists in the same collection. But be careful – you need to have an eye for art and aesthetic to ensure that the visuals elevate and don’t detract from your brand. Managing the artists can also be a full time job, in and of itself. Don’t bite off more than you can chew – delegate the responsibilities to a General Manager or a designated buyer. Your walls – and your sanity – will thank you.

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Opening Your New Restaurant: Tips to Stay on Track

seamless panorama of restaurant bar interior made by tilt shift lens

Getting to opening day is, for a new restaurant, a momentous and stressful undertaking. From construction to buying equipment to health inspection to staffing, there are hundreds of details, big and small, to take into account. And every detail is a potential problem if not prepared for correctly and addressed promptly. Here are some tips to keep you on track and ensure a successful opening which happens on time (or at least – very close!).

Construction is a huge undertaking, and managing multiple contractors is a full time job in and of itself. Hiring a project overseer will absolutely help you keep everyone on time and on budget. The initial cost will pay itself back in terms of your own time as well as ensuring that everyone shows up and does what they are supposed to do, for the rate they agreed to. Find someone with experience, and keep working on everything else that you need to while that person keeps the contractors on time and on budget.

Speaking of budget – finances are a huge part of opening a new restaurant. Costs are typically anywhere from a quarter to a million dollars in construction and initial rent alone – and cost can creep very suddenly when you discover you need a new air duct system, or you end up three months behind with three extra months of rent to pay and no money coming in. Make sure you have your initial budget plus a contingency plan in place, and negotiate with the landlord to ensure you’re getting the best possible deal during the opening months. Be realistic about all your upfront costs – you will need all your restaurant equipment, all the small pieces, and also, a couple weeks of payroll to pay staff, plus food costs for the grand opening. A marketing budget is certainly not a bad idea either. So be cautious and make sure you’re confidently funded before proceeding.

Equipment is an area that we of course, specialize in and we encourage you to shop our full range of restaurant equipment – from the big purchases to the small, you’ll find what you need here. Do your research and pick pieces that fit both your space and the needs of your kitchen. The equipment you buy now should last you a long time, so consider it an important investment and act accordingly. We are happy to help you if you call our customer service line, with decisions from price to size to everything you need to have on your list before opening day.

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Fat Tuesday: Laissez les Bon Temps Rouller

Three Mardi Gras Masks and Beads

Ready to party? Your customers certainly are! Get in the spirit of Mardi Gras and throw them a celebration to remember. It’s fun and it gives people a reason to celebrate at the end of a long, dark winter. So break out the beads and masks and get ready to throw down, New Orleans style!

Traditional Mardi Gras recipes are listed below. Depending on your establishment, you can set up menu items, a special prix fixe menu, or even have a party night with a fixed cover or a Mardi Gras themed happy hour. Get the word out, get some fun accessories (beads, beads, and more beads) and book a brass band to really liven things up. Just don’t wait till last minute on the band – much like fiddlers at St Patrick’s Day, bands will be in high demand for Fat Tuesday.

Beignets:

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups bread flour
1/4 cup shortening
Nonstick spray
Oil, for deep-frying
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions

Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.

In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the bread flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.

Add the confectioners’ sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside.

Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of confectioners’ sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly.

Jambalaya:

Ingredients

2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided by tablespoon
Cajun seasoning 10 ounces andouille sausage, sliced into rounds
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 onion, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced 2 stalks celery, diced
Celery Bunch
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16 ounce) can crushed Italian tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon file powder
1 1/4 cups uncooked white rice 2 1/2 cups chicken broth

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in a large heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Season the sausage and chicken pieces with Cajun seasoning. Saute sausage until browned. Remove with slotted spoon, and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil, and saute chicken pieces until lightly browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside.

In the same pot, saute onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic until tender. Stir in crushed tomatoes, and season with red pepper, black pepper, salt, hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce and file powder. Stir in chicken and sausage. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the rice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.

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Seven Tasty Food Photography Tips

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Reposted from our friends at Toast – who have all your POS needs covered!

We’ve all heard it countless times; a picture’s worth a thousand words.

And with limited space for long descriptions on your menu, good restaurant food photography deserves its seat at the table. Food photography can be used for enhancing menus, improving restaurant social media accounts, advertisements, and more!

You might not need to hire a professional photographer to start capturing those mouth-watering menu offerings. Below are a few tips and tricks to photograph your food like a professional.

Tip #1: Use Natural Lighting (And Please, No Flash)
Most restaurants have windows. Most windows have an abundance of natural light. Natural light is one of the most sought after resources for a photographer, especially when it comes to food photography.

More often than not, all you need is a single source of light. Lighting that comes from the back or side usually creates the best illumination of the food while mitigating shadows and highlighting the texture of the ingredients.

Restaurant Food Photography

On a similar note, never use flash. “Flash photos of food create harsh reflections and glare as well as funny-looking fall-off — your food looks like it’s floating in space,” according to Serious Eats.

Keep your food on earth and don’t use flash.

Tip #2: Keep it Simple

The most effective food photography is often the simplest: close-up shots of the food itself to show off exactly that – the food itself. Plain backgrounds and tables are favorable over patterns. The less ingredients and congestion on the plate the better. People viewing food photography like to be able to simply identify what the food is. With the focus on the food, the outlying background shouldn’t detract from the ingredients.

Tip #3: Post Photos on Your Social Media Accounts

Restaurant Food Photography

One of the more recent trends in social media is for people to post pictures of their food. We all love to admire and salivate over the marvelous creations of chefs in restaurants. Those can come from both the consumers or the restaurants themselves.

For social media users to easily scroll through feeds of similar concepts, hashtags are the way to go. Incorporating hashtags is important if you’re trying to grow your follower base with your delicious-looking food photography. According to “A Field Guide to Instagram Food Hashtags” on First We Feast, the following are the most popular food hashtags:

#foodie (47 million images); often paired with #picoftheday
#foodporn (140 million images); often paired with #amazing and #manvsfood
#nom or #nomnom or #nomnomnom (you get the point) (20 million images); a majority of females are using this hashtag, and it is often paired with desserts such as cupcakes and ice cream

Tip #4: Add a Bit of Oil or a Spritz of Water

We know your ingredients are fresh, but that doesn’t always translate perfectly to the camera. To make your salads or vegetables look fresh and zesty, add a splash of oil or spray with water to give them a glean. The oil or water will highlight them in all the right places to show off the freshness.

Tip #5: Incorporate Simple Photography Techniques

Some of the most basic principles of photography come in handy when talking specifically about food photography. Depth of field and rule of thirds are two that come to mind first.

Depth of field refers to the range of distance that is in focus in a photograph. It is a commonly used photography technique because it draws the eyes to focus on the important area of the photograph. This technique can be used when you want to have a small focal point in the picture. For instance, if you’re baking a batch of cupcakes or muffins, this would be perfect.
restaurant food photography.

Rule of thirds is another important concept in food photography. Photos are more appealing when the subject in place not directly in the center of the photograph, but instead in one of the “thirds” of the shot.
restaurant food photography

The best part about rule of thirds is how simple it is. To start using this technique, simply divide the photograph up into three horizontal and three vertical sections. The subject (or main focus) of the photograph should be place in one of the intersections of divisions, outside of the center.

Your photos will seem much more compelling if you start employing these two food photography concepts.

Tip #6: Mix up the Angle of the Photo

Not all foods are created equal. That’s why some foods look better in certain angles and positions than others.

According to the Digital Photography School, “some dishes look great when you shoot from right in front of the food, and others are best suited when the you are looking down from directly above the table.”

For flat food, try an above shot (like for pizza). Comparatively, burgers look better from the side, so you can see all of the layers of juicy ingredients. Drinks, on the other hand, look good from 45 degree angles.

Tip #7: Make Sure Plates are Clean and Your Background is Neat

This might go without saying, but the cleanliness of the plate goes a long way in food photography. Any slight smudge or stray ingredient can detract from the main focus of the image. That’s why some of the most famous food photographers use tweezers when handling and placing food on a place.

Similarly, plain backgrounds are best used to not distract from the food. The most popular food photography backgrounds are dark backgrounds, light backgrounds, and wood. A neutral background doesn’t have to be completely plain, but it shouldn’t detract from the main subject of the photo.