New Pay-by-Picture Restaurant Lets Patrons Pay for their Food with Photos

I always thought people taking pictures of their food was kind of silly, but at this new pop-up restaurant in the UK, I’d probably do it too. ‘The Picture House’ is the world’s first pay-by-photo restaurant – you order, click a photo of the food, share on Instagram and eat for free!

The restaurant belongs to frozen food giant Birds Eye, who came up with the idea to cash in on people’s obsession with photographing food and sharing the pics online. They conducted a survey and found out that more than half of the Brit population regularly took pictures of their meals, nine percent of them on a daily basis. So they realized, what better way to advertize their new dining range than with hashtags?

The pop-up eatery was open in Soho, London for three days in May, and is now moving to other major UK cities. They serve two-course meals that customers don’t have to pay for, if they snap and Instagram it. “We wanted to tap into this social media trend and create a new reason for people to talk about and sample our inspirations range,” said marketing director Margaret Jobling.

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Photo: Birds Eye

The restaurant is a part of Birds Eye’s ‘Food for Life’ campaign, a new marketing project that aims at changing the way people look at frozen food. They’re focusing on how people interact and consume their meals. “Taking photos of food enables people to show off and to share their mealtime moments – from the everyday to the special,” said Jobling.

The company has even gone as far as hiring Instagram ‘expert’ food photographer Marie Marte to help people take high quality photographs. It’s sort of like a precaution; they obviously don’t want people putting out sloppy pictures of their food. So diners are offered tutorials on how to take provocative pictures of their food, before uploading and proceeding to eat it.

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Photo: Birds Eye

The reaction to The Picture House has been great so far. “The pay-by-picture concept has proven to be an effective way of engaging customers,” said Lynn Grant, Bird Eye’s senior brand manager. “We’re excited to see how the public continues to respond to this activity and, given the success of The Picture House so far, we certainly feel there is scope to expand this venture further in the future.”

According to 24-year-old Instagrammer Rhiannon Atkins, “This is a really good idea. I’m a keen instagrammer and will eat and tweet if it’s free! A lot of people pay for their meal and then take photos of it anyway so this is a massive incentive, and I think it could spread like wildfire.”

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Photo: Birds Eye

Alternate payment methods are actually gaining popularity among a lot of businesses these days. Last year, we featured this story about Slow Time, a cafe in Germany where customers pay by how much time they spend there, not by what they eat.

I do believe Bird Eye’s campaign is a really good – who doesn’t love a free meal, and they get to advertise their products in exchange. Now that’s what I call smart marketing.

Source: The Daily Beast


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  • Chef Boyardee Posted on June 2, 2014

    Quick! Somebody snap some photos of this restaurant before it goes bankrupt, which would be soon. What a stupid idea!

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