Thinkstock/ villagemoon
Thinkstock/ villagemoon

On Monday, I was snapping a photo of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa rolling a hand roll at his namesake restaurant that opened in D.C. earlier this fall. While I was centering my iPhone shot, someone working for the restaurant grabbed me by my broad, bulky shoulders and physically moved me five feet. “This is the better angle,” she instructed.

The point is, restaurants don’t just want butts in seats anymore. They want shutterbugs and people willing to pull off stunts like these. To coax check-ins and mentions, bartenders are using wild garnishes and non-traditional glassware (think giant brass pineapples) and chefs are changing how they plate dishes (foie gras lolly-pops). Just look at JINYA Ramen Bar, which stacks its sweet potato fries in the symbol of a hashtag. 

Because they believe Instagram #foodporn posts are good for business, restaurants and bars don’t want to just sit and hope that customers post photos of their food and drinks. They’re being more proactive by straight-up asking customers for posts or offering prizes. Take a look at a handful of Tweets from local bars and restaurants.

Some give you a creative assignment:

Others keep it simple:

Many offer prizes. 

Hell, I even fell for one:

These are just a select few examples. Spend a little more time cruising social media and you could probably feed yourself for a week off all the available deals. All it takes is an Instagram account and one quick tap of the # key.