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Leveraging Location: How Geo-Tags are Changing the Restaurant Game

Three thick slices of vanilla-bean brioche French toast drizzled with luscious maple syrup, topped with caramelized bananas, accompanied by a side of out-of-this-world candied bacon…

Most would feel guilty not sharing such a delectable spectacle on Instagram. And I don’t blame them.

“Foodstagraming” has been around for as long as photo filters like Nashville and Kelvin have existed, but no longer are food bloggers the only ones taking their foodie feeds to the next level. Hashtags like #foodporn, #foodgasm, and #instafood link to tens of millions of photos shared by countless users. Everyone from famous athletes and fashion bloggers to your parents are snapping pictures of their favorite restaurant eats. Even those who disparage foodstagraming find it hard to resist scrolling endlessly through the abundance of mouthwatering photographs.

Today, the real value in foodstagraming exists in the geotags we attach to our photos. Restaurant owners and foodies alike can utilize Instagram’s location functionality in more ways than ever before. The most obvious convenience in geotags is the storage of one’s current location, the exact latitude and longitude of where the photo was taken. Restaurateurs can leverage this tool to increase foot traffic making it easy for customers to pinpoint their brick-and-mortar location. Instagram’s geotag feature is now linked with the iOS Maps application allowing every follower to know instantly just how far away that irresistible looking truffle mac and cheese is.

Geotags also act as an unbiased presentation of a restaurant’s offering. Instagram is now my go-to resource for reviewing menu choices. When my indecisive taste buds can’t choose between options, I turn to geotags to see what my fellow foodstagramers are ordering and sharing. If everyone is posting pictures of the shredded Brussels sprouts and avocado salad then I know it’s a can’t-miss-dish.

In a world where we live for the phrase “do it for the Instagram”, food isn’t the only share-worthy feature for coffeerestaurants anymore. Take Alfred {Coffee & Kitchen} in Los Angeles, for example. The brick-and-mortar has become Instafamous for its “But first, coffee” signage, evident by the countless Instagram photos geotagged at the location. The photo feeds associated with restaurant geotags lure customers in for the aesthetic, atmosphere, and experience just as much as the fare.

Geotags are an influential marketing tool and cost nothing. As Instagram continues to be one of the most used mobile applications, it will be important for all business owners to innovate their social space to fully capitalize on the trend.

What can Instagram do to enhance its location feature? Make geotags searchable. We can search for restaurant accounts and associated hashtags, but not locations!