In the age of Instagram and Foodporn, food presentation has become an important factor in the success of the restaurant. Food that does not look good no longer feels good and while comfort food is still the intent the food now must be comfortable to the eyes as well. Though the idea and need of food presentation are not dependent on social media but social media itself has added to a variety of reasons why food presentation is important and why you as a restaurateur must engage in it. Here are essential Food Plating and Presentation Techniques that you must employ in your restaurant.
Importance of Food Presentation in Restaurants
There are certain reasons as to why food needs to be presented in a certain way in a restaurant. Truth be told the way a plate looks and makes us feel sets the parameter of the way the food is going to feel. Here are some reasons as to why proper food presentation has become an utmost necessity in restaurants.
1. Food Presentation Impacts Customer Choices
The way a dish looks has a huge impact on how one perceives it. Think about this, your home food is always tasty but even so, you mostly find the food outside to be different and tastier. That is so because we judge our food even before we taste it and this judgement to the most part is dependent upon our sight. The way food has been presented sets our mood and then prepares us for the dish the taste of which we then comprehend in a singular light.
Better presented food also makes customers feel that it was more value for money as the ingredients were high quality and a lot of effort went into making the dish. In a social experiment people were given the same salad, the only difference was that one as simply tossed and the other was presented well. According to the survey, most people found the well-garnished one to be tastier and what is more is that most of them were willing to pay more for it. That is the level of difference that well-presented food can make!
2. Essential For Food and Restaurant Marketing
Maintaining food aesthetics is just as important as maintaining your restaurant aesthetics. In the age of social media where everything is clicked and uploaded not maintaining aesthetics in your food presentation may turn out to be your biggest mistake. Take Instagram for example- If people do not like the way your food looks, no matter how good it tastes it is not going to make it to their Instagram feed, which is a potential opportunity for you to stay relevant to your customers and also appear in front of new people.
On the other hand, if the food you serve is visually pleasing there is no reason why people will not click and share it. This will definitely market your food and your restaurant in an indirect and far-reaching way as potential customers are more likely to come to you on seeing your food through others and not you. With proper food presentation, you can use your existing customers and social media channels to upsell your restaurant on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
3. Food Presentation Communicates the Restaurant Quality
The way your food has been presented is also a signifier of how experienced your kitchen staff is. The poorly presented food reflects a mismanaged kitchen and even inferior food quality. On the other hand, well-presented food is visually judged to be that of superior quality as more care must have gone in its preparation and quality. Thus, it psychologically communicates the quality standard of your restaurant.
4. Elevates The Dish
Good food presentation comes through measured combinations between the dish and sauces, garnish and the sides. All these combinations and ingredients not only add to but elevate the taste and quality of the dish. Every sauce and every piece of garnish adds a different texture and flavour to the dish that later adds up to bring the dish out even more. Food presentation thus makes the dish not only visually pleasing but tastier as well.
Essential Food Presentation Tips to Keep in Mind
Food presentation is not just an art; there is a whole science involved in making your dish appear delicious. Certain factors need to be kept in mind during the plating of the dish.
1. The Shape of the Plate
The shape of the plate that you choose to present your food in impacts how your food is perceived. In fact, certain shapes are well suited to certain foods only. Angular plates, for example, give the food on it a smart, sleek and modern look, and so are used to present more contemporary desserts or savoury food items. Round plates, on the other hand, make the food appear more wholesome and are generally regarded to go well with desserts.
2. The Size of the Plate
Plate size is another factor that is of prime importance in food presentation. The size of the pate must be well thought of, as too small a plate will make the food look cluttered while too huge a plate will make the quantity feel scarce. The plate size must also be supportive of the design. For example, if there are a lot of elements and you are planning to place them vertically, a smaller plate must be chosen but not too small, as some white spaces at the boundary would be needed.
3. Colour of the Plate
Like colour on restaurant walls, colour on restaurant plates is just as important. Different colours impact the psychology of people in a different manner and while some may be preferred for plating some must never be considered like blue as it is a diet represent. White plates are prefered the most as they bring out the contrast of the colours and provide a neutral base but if the contrast is right black plates are considered contemporary and powerful as well.
4. Food Plating Spots
On the plate always follow the clock method to present food. Imagine the face of a clock when you begin plating your ingredients. Certain type of ingredients are strictly supposed to go in certain spots. From the diner’s point of view in a classic plating, the main ingredient like chicken or ribs should be between 3 and 9 on the imagined clock. The starch like potatoes or fries must be between 9 and 12 and the vegetables should be between 12 and 3.
5. Number of Elements on the Plate
While plating, remember that for the food that goes by pieces like momos or shrimps the number is also an important factor. Giving food in odd numbers creates an illusion of extra quantity, while also being easier to plate.
6. Proper Garnishing
While the entire dish is usually measured and planned ingredient by ingredient, garnish is mostly taken for granted. In fact, just about anything is often used as a garnish. For instance, there was a time when shaved carrots were put on anything that left a restaurant kitchen because it was considered the best garnish. While, in reality, there is no such garnish that goes with everything. Even the garnish must be planned in terms of flavour, texture and amount to bring out the best of the dish visually and otherwise.
While food presentation has always been around its value now in the age of social media is as high as food taste on which a restaurant primarily runs. Do not get left too far behind and start experimenting with the different ways in which you can improve your food presentation and look at your restaurant grow both in the number of customers, customer experience and popularity.