Since making it our mission to become “field experts” in local eats on the Space Coast eight months ago, we typically hit 2-3 new restaurants a week. Local spots only, no big-box chains. Along the way, we’ve learned a thing or two about the foodie scene around here.
If you’ve followed us for a while, you know our formula: try as many new places as possible, photograph the heck out of our meals, and share only what we would recommend to a friend on our social media platforms. Providing locals a quick visual resource when deciding where they’d like to try next, all while supporting small business by promoting restaurants who (in our opinion) are exceling at what they do.
And while our experiences since embarking on this adventure have been overwhelmingly positive, we’ve noticed a huge lack in one particular area.
One of the most common questions we get is, “How do you decide where to go out to eat?” Our favorite, most trusted source is word of mouth from friends and other locals. But almost immediately after we hear a raving review, we open up Instagram and scope out the place. We check out their feed to get a feel for their food style, looking at photos they’ve been tagged in to see what past customers ordered and how they liked it. We’re looking to be pulled in, visually. And if a restaurant can capture their essence and personality, convince us they’re doing something unique, and get others posting about them too, we’re sold.
In fact, as soon as I found out we’d be relocating to Melbourne a few years ago, a city in Florida I’d barely even heard of, one of the first things I did was poke around the “Melbourne, FL” location tag on Instagram, and other relevant local hashtags, to see from a real locals’ perspective what good eats awaited us.
But all too often these restaurants we’re getting recommendations for totally neglect their Instagram accounts (if they even have one), and it leaves us feeling flat about the experience we might get there. We see a lot of “ghosted” accounts where no one has posted anything in months (or years). Many of these restaurants are unresponsive to our comments and messages via Instagram. We see a lot of eateries who, in reality, have great food and service, but have Instagram feeds full of low-quality photos in terrible lighting, or post too many boring, text-only advertisements.
We find it ironic that these small ma -and-pop style restaurants have so much heart and story behind their business, but that many don’t share any of it online to pull in whatever following they may have. The potential for creating a buzzing online community around their great food is totally possible, but left highly underutilized. We’ve been left wondering many times what the space coast food scene could be like if more restaurants harnessed the power of their Instagram presence.
Many of our local Instagram followers, (and not just the millennials!) have told us they turn to online sources first when trying to decide on a new place to eat – largely Instagram and Yelp. We think it’s time for the local eateries that we love so much to step up their Insta-game and do their food justice on social media! The locals here are hungry for it (literally and figuratively), and we think it could do wonders to push Brevard into the booming “foodie hot spot” it deserves to be.