Chili’s Has Altered Its Dishes So They Look Better In Social Media Pics

Good move? Or social media run amok?

Since folks are taking pics of every meal they eat all day every day (food is the second most snapped thing behind selfies), Chili’s has taken steps to maximize on the opportunity, tweaking the appearance of their dishes so they look better in social media photos.

“Chili’s now places its french fries in stainless-steel containers, sits its burgers up higher on the plate and uses buns with more visual appeal,” writes Bloomberg, who interviewed Wyman Roberts, CEO of Brinker International, Chili’s parent company, last week. The Chili’s Instagram account, which has more than 25,000 followers is filled largely with artful photos of the restaurant’s dishes.

The company is making a push in digital, including installing Ziosk tablets at tables so diners can easily order refills and, this week, giving American Express members the chance to use their rewards points to pay their bills when they use those tablets.

The idea, according to the article is to compete with Chipotle (not sure how this does that) and to reach a “forward-thinking customer,” one that isn’t necessarily a millennial. More to the point, they want to reach people who are sharing online, which a growing portion of the dining population.

The key here for Chili’s is not taking the whole digital thing overboard. Dining out at a restaurant — whether it’s fine dining or something more casual like a Chili’s — is supposed to be an experience that includes a personal touch. Expediting drink refills and making food snapshots easier is one thing. But 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.