Plating your food the way customers want to see it

What factors go into planning your plating? Do you consider what customers might find appealing or what your presentation says about your restaurant?

Studies show that 18 per cent of diners think that when food looks better, it tastes better. Making your plating a priority means taking several factors into consideration.  

The plates

Consider the size of your plates in relation to your portion size. A crowded plate can look messy, but too much white space may affect the perceived value of the dish, giving the impression that the portion is small. Studies show that black plates give the impression that the portion of food is generous, simply because of the dark background.

Also, a neutral colour like white or light grey can make vibrant colours pop and grab your guests’ attention. Colourful food looks like it will be tasty, teasing complex flavours, and encouraging people to give it a try.

The arrangement

The thirds rule is a common technique, where the main protein goes in the bottom third, the carb element at the top left, and the vegetable at the top right. Photographers also use this concept because typically, the eye scans from the bottom left to the top right, so choose your focal point accordingly. It’s often said that people eat with their eyes first, so the arrangement of the food should be focused on getting guests excited about that first taste.

Don’t forget takeout! Your off-premise guests also want to see something impressive, so adapt your plating techniques to your takeout containers so they don’t have to eat in to get the full experience.

The marketing element

Feature mouth-watering photography on your menu that matches what your guests see and what they order. Remember that if guests love the look of your dishes, they could be encouraged to share them on social media, so you won’t just be getting their attention in person, you’re also attracting new customers online.

When planning your plating, think about what you would want as a guest. Use your plating as a canvas to show off what your restaurant is all about, grow your brand and gain market share.