Food Porn? Guess What Chili’s Pays to Shine its Buns

Apparently, food beautification has become worth big investments in the digital age. Here’s why.

Chili’s burger buns are ready for their close-up.

The restaurant chain just spent $750,000 for an egg wash that gives its buns a pretty sheen so they look good in pictures, according to The Associated Press. If that leaves you shaking your head, get this: the six-figure sum is not a one-time deal; it’s an annual expense for the beautifying egg wash.

“It just makes it look great. It glistens, it shines,” said Wyman Roberts, CEO of Brinker International, the parent company of Chili’s.

The goal of the expensive bun wash is to get you to take pictures of your meal at Chili’s and then post them online on Instagram or other photo-sharing sites.

Chili’s wanted some of its other foods to look good in photos, too. The restaurant chain has invested in stainless steel holders for its fries, which Roberts said “looks cool,” the AP reports. Also, in an effort to make Chili’s famous ribs more photogenic, they’re now cut and stacked instead of served in big slabs.

Because food is all about looks, right?

Chili’s is looking to attract what it refers to as “the new school” class of customer, Bloomberg Business said. New school consumers are forward-thinkers, though not necessarily millennials, Roberts explained. But they are a customer base that likes to photograph their meals and share the pics with friends on social media, so Chili’s wants to make sure its food is picture-perfect.

“Food is the second most photographed thing, after yourself,” Roberts told Bloomberg. “Selfies of people eating food is the sweet spot.”

Improving the visual presentation of food makes sense to me. But $750,000 annually seems like a pretty expensive bun makeover, especially when you consider that money has everything to do with looks and nothing to do with taste.

What do you think of Chili’s dishing out $750,000 annually to have picture-perfect buns? Sound off below.

Stacy Johnson

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