Frozen foods brand Birds Eye launched a pop-up eatery in the UK where posting meals on Instagram takes care of the tab.

The London restaurant, as part of its “Food of Life” campaign, serves meals made from the brand’s own frozen foods to prove their quality. Guests who post pictures of their meals with the hashtag #BirdsEyeInspirations on Instagram don’t have to pay their bill.

Promotion trade-off

More brands are embracing the idea of consumer as influencer, encouraging consumers to advocate for their brand on social media platforms. With such platforms, consumers are more able to gauge peer perspectives on products, services and venues.

According to Mintel’s Eating Out: The Decision Making Process UK 2013 report, some 25% of consumers say that their eating out decisions have been influenced in the past three months by the recommendations of friends or family. That number jumps to 34% among the younger, more connected crowd of 16-24-year-olds.

One restaurant in New York posted its entire menu on Instagram and another one in South Africa even set up a kiosk with multiple lighting options to help guests snap the perfect shot of their food. Beyond the foodservice industry, brands are incentivising social media sharing through free items in retail, both mainstream and upscale.

With consumers spending more time on social media, it makes sense that more brands are spending more money getting the word out on these platforms. Many consumers appreciate when a brand recognises them for sharing on their behalf, and some consumers have even come to expect some sort of gift or discount in return. Brands would do well to encourage such sharing, as it can potentially grow their business.