Why food brands need to get playful with digital

Forget pink dining rooms; digital is the creative frontier for restaurants and food businesses, and according to Hato’s Ken Kirton, there’s plenty of fun to be had

At one point in time, London restaurant Sketch was home to one of the most-admired interiors in the world: its pink dining room. “When we first did the website in 2018, there was some crazy statistic from Instagram that the pink room [redecorated in yellow earlier this year] was the most Instagrammed room in the world,” says Ken Kirton, creative director and co-founder of design studio Hato, which has made work for several food brands. “That idea, that an interior of a restaurant could bring more customers and increase its audience was quite a new concept.”

Many other food businesses have caught onto the idea, understanding how a striking piece of interior design can take on a second life online – or, as Kirton describes it, “monetisation of an interior through social media”.

According to Kirton, however, there’s a huge opportunity for food companies to go much further with their digital presence. “I think there are a lot of restaurants understanding that creating that full 360 digital experience is such a huge part of it,” he tells CR. “And quite a few are now going beyond a nice website or order-at-the-table QR codes.”