According to this article in the New York Times restaurant owners are more and more often changing how those who like to record their meals for posterity are allowed to do so, if at all. While it’s up to the owner of the establishment to do set what is and is not permitted in their respective business, arbitrarily banning something–as long as it does not interrupt others around them–seems harsh and short-sighted.
From the article:
When it comes to people taking photographs of their meals, the chef David Bouley has seen it all. There are the foreign tourists who, despite their big cameras, tend to be very discreet. There are those who use a flash and annoy everyone around them. There are those who come equipped with gorillapods — those small, flexible tripods to use on their tables.
There are even those who stand on their chairs to shoot their plates from above.
But rather than tell people they can’t shoot their food — the food they are so proud to eat that they need to share it immediately with everyone they know — he simply takes them back into his kitchen to shoot as the plates come out. “We’ll say, ‘That shot will look so much better on the marble table in our kitchen,’ ” Mr. Bouley said. “It’s like, here’s the sauce, here’s the plate. Snap it. We make it like an adventure for them instead of telling them no.”
While Bouley is obviously incredibly accommodating to their foodie patrons, other restaurants noted in the article just outright ban photography with some people feeling embarrassed or surprised believing the actions to be possibly illegal (they are neither). However, if a restaurant wants to ban photography they should make their intentions clear from before patrons walk in the door so people, like myself, know to spend my money elsewhere.
While the ridiculous examples quoted above are certainly inappropriate and flashes can definitely be annoying, aside from the occasional moments of forgetting to turn off the flash before taking a shot, most of the time I have seen people be very decent about taking photos of their food and I would expect that restaurant owners would mostly appreciate the attention it can potentially bring their business. Take, for example, Gai Gai Thai’s beautiful photo of Palace’s Pizza’s Laab. The 373 likes that photo received and the various comments saying they had to check the place out will likely bring much needed attention to such a worthy place. It may be different for high-end restaurants in NYC, but still, the restaurant business is tough, welcoming any attention should be welcomed, right?
What do you think about this one? Aside from the crazies standing on chairs and using flashes, do you think people taking photos of their food is something that should be banned by restaurants? Have you ever been asked not to take photos in a restaurant? Have you ever gone to a restaurant solely because you saw someone else’s photo of the food on social media or a blog? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.