Meet Patrick Tomasso, one of Toronto’s brightest emerging talents. Having worked at a variety of top Toronto agencies for four years, Patrick recently took the plunge into freelancing where he takes photos, makes films, writes stories and produces music for a growing list of clients.
We sat down with Patrick to ask him about his experience with the changing social landscape for the restaurant industry.
FC (Fervid Communications): In your eyes, what has been the biggest change for restaurants in the past few years when it comes to marketing themselves?
P (Patrick): Restaurants used to thrive solely on write ups and word of mouth; now it’s about sharing snaps, Instagrams, and YouTube videos. It’s more than just offering good food and drinks now (for better or worse), it’s about creating a share-worthy experience. You have to think carefully about the decor, the branding, the uniforms, the music that plays, the way the food is plated, even the lighting. It’s a whole new game, and the businesses that are thriving are mindful of all of this. The places that are on top are creating experiences with food, not just serving food.
FC: Why has food photography exploded?
P: It really comes down to the fact that we all have incredible cameras in our pockets now at all times. It was never socially acceptable to pull out a giant film camera or a DSLR and take shots while eating, but having phones that shoot on par and sometimes even better than dedicated cameras, has opened a whole world for people to share eats, and really add context to experiences they’ve had while eating. There’s huge FOMO (fear of missing out) and a ‘look what I did!’ factor to it all. People want to brag about the food they had and definitely enjoy the attention a great food porn shot gets.
Kitson and Co Burger captured by Patrick Tomasso
FC: How important is it for restaurants to have high-quality food photography?
P: A restaurant is a machine, there are so many moving parts that need expert attention and care, from sourcing the perfect ingredients to creating the right atmosphere – it’s all about the details. So it’s a huge shame to not follow that same dedication and craft that goes into your food and operation, when you are capturing content. You need to convey all of that hard work and dedication on Instagram, because if you slack off and do a crappy job, it speaks volumes about your place. Your content is typically reaching customers in the discovery phase which means it is the first impression for anyone that hasn’t been to your place before. It needs to be top notch, just like your dishes and service.
Check Patrick’s Instagram account out now!
FC: Which local restaurants do you think are killing it with their digital presence?
P: Nate Tasty who’s the head chef over at Home of the Brave is killing it. I love that he takes the time to ensure his hard work is showcased accordingly. It’s fun, it’s tasty, and most importantly it has personality. There’s a great balance of incredible food shots and some behind the scenes of the team that makes it all possible. You really feel like you know the place before even stepping inside.
Sweet Jesus is definitely still the gold standard. What new restaurants need to take from them is to create an insanely photogenic product. I used to work for some big QSR brands and I would ask them all the time, ‘will people take pictures of this?’. If the answer is no, you might want to go back to the drawing board. It doesn’t have to be everything on your menu, but having a few wildcard stand out dishes ensures that you end up in as many feeds as possible from everyone ordering it just to get the ‘gram.
Just don’t make rainbow bagels… those are the worst!