What makes a showstopper item for social media?

Written by Chef Liam

In the era of social media domination, the success of any food establishment can often be measured by its ability to create menu items that are worthy of a return visit, maybe a recommendation to friends both on and offline plus the mandatory act of feeding the camera. These plates of delight not only contribute to a memorable dining experience but also serve as powerful marketing tools when shared across Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.

One of the surefire ways to capture social media attention is by offering something unique and innovative. Take the example of the "Cronut" created by Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York. A hybrid between a croissant and a doughnut, the Cronut became an instant hit, with lines forming outside the bakeries and countless Instagram posts featuring the delectable pastry. By blending two beloved classics, Dominique Ansel Bakery not only satisfied taste buds but also sparked a culinary trend spawning many more adaptations. A perfect example of how modern food is innovating, like it or not.

In the realm of social media and food, visual appeal has and will always be vital. Chefs can leverage the power of aesthetics by creating visually striking menu items that just beg to be snapped. Milkshakes topped with extravagant garnishes, vibrant sushi rolls, or decadent desserts. Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer, a New York-based restaurant, gained widespread acclaim for its over-the-top burgers and milkshakes. The sheer visual spectacle of these excessive creations led to an influx of social media posts, turning them into viral spectacles. Although the fad stage around many of these ludicrous ideas has shifted on the premise and insight still is poignant.

When it comes to creating an Instagram-worthy burger, size matters. Giant burgers not only satiate hunger but also draw attention to the detailed building of lip-smacking ingredients layered upon one another. A great example of this is Milky Lane Burgers. The predominantly NSW & QLD-based venues wanted to create an unforgettable experience escaping the everyday norms by going on a belt-busting adventure. Offering what they believe to be the ultimate burger meal experience combining crazy burger builds and overloaded shakes.

Reimagine classic dishes can breathe new life into your menu, customer and social media users are often drawn to the familiar presented in unexpected ways. Betty’s Burger's "Shroom Burger" is a brilliant example to this offering what I believe to be one of the best meat alternative patties in an all naturelle way. Adding a little goodness to the humble mushroom by stuffing and deep-frying the mushroom (a sure-fire way in my mind to goodness), the Shroom burger offers a vegetarian alternative that not only pleases all palate’s but also brings intrigue therefore delivering engagement with their customer base.

Cooks and chefs have been combining techniques and perspectives for years when developing menus, as you will see in my recipe this month - where I take a classic cheeseburger and add another technique to the food preparation – slow-cooked, formed, fried, grilled, pulled, smoked - the options for both meat and vegetables are endless.

In a biodegradable clamshell, the key to creating a social media showstopper lies in the combination of individuality, aesthetics, size and innovation - harnessing the powers of social media to winch your brand to and attract a broader audience. Often it won’t be a groundbreaking culinary creation just another minor extension of a classic, the art of the showstopper lies in leaving a lasting impression that extends far beyond the dining table.

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