Social media influence is growing in the food and beverage industry. 45% of diners will check a restaurant’s website or Instagram when deciding where to eat, and 70% of employers will do a “social media” background check when hiring. For decades, working as a cook has never been considered a sought-after career. Images of Sally the lunch lady in her dirty scrubs scooping piles of mystery meat usually came to mind. Thanks to the rise of photo-sharing websites – the stigma has certainly changed. The occupation has become somewhat romanticized, a chef in their clean whites, making beautiful dishes created by scientists and plated by artists. The augmented reality we live in is changing how we eat, how we hire and how we are developing professionally.
1. Visibility of Current Food Trends
The internet has become a powerful tool of innovation and ideas in the culinary world. As of April 2015, there were 227 million blogs. Blogs like Food52, KITCHN, and Serious Eats are leading the way and it has never been easier to find high-quality recipes on a cell phone between lunch and dinner service. With an emphasis on beautifully curated plates and pastries that resemble a work art, a quick Google search for a cheesecake recipe yields hundreds of inspiring images. Food trends change every year, every season. They are fast and fleeting, and through the rise of social media, anyone can have access to the daily special as soon as it hits the table.
2. World Wide Exposure
For restaurants and hotels, simply having a website is not enough. The average person has a membership to roughly five social media accounts. That’s five different networks to reach potential customers, suppliers, employers and employees. Because the internet and networking sites have no borders, the use of hashtags and knowledge of SEO can propel a restaurant or chef to global exposure in a matter of months. Sites like Instagram and Facebook are basically free advertising that takes a business from little known 123 Street, Canada, to the palm of your diners’ hand.
3. An Online Resume
Instagram is to a resume as a fork is to a plate. A necessary implement. The recent growth in popularity of celebrity chefs and cooking shows has glamorized the otherwise thankless job of preparing dinner. Thanks to social networking sites and smartphones, the average cook is able to take professional-looking photos of their best work and gain exposure on a public scale. This exposure is helpful to both industry and employee – the cook is able to showcase their skills and the employer can see what they are getting. Many valuable professional connections can be formed simply by reaching someone of interest via social networking sites.
4. Culinary Education
As of 2018 more than 23 million youtube channels have been created – and likely hundreds of thousands of channels dedicated to food and cooking. For many young chefs learning a new skill in the kitchen is as simple as typing it in the search box and selecting a video tutorial getting a step by step view of how it's done. Many of these channels are no joke – they are created by culinary professionals from butchers to bakers who are happy to share their knowledge from years of experience and hard work. Basically, if there is something you would like to learn how to do, you can probably find step-by-step video instructions.
The internet is a powerful tool for business, career and education and it is changing the way we eat.
Is this a good thing? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!