As COVID-19 restrictions continue, a UK businessman has created fake restaurant place settings to reel in nervous Instagram influencers by helping them to create the “Insta experience” at home.
Tom Messett, founder of Stampapp, a contactless restaurant booking, ordering, payment and tracing app, has created an initial set of three ‘Table Genius’ placemats, which when photographed from above, create the illusion of a setting from a fine dining restaurant, a hipster café – or, for workers still at home, the impression of an ‘al desko’ power lunch. Designated areas on the placemats can be filled with plated food purchased from local restaurants or takeaways.
Nervousness about COVID-19 is still causing UK diners to choose takeaway rather than eat in, with many restaurants now offering both options. Many restaurants are reporting that 50 per cent or more of their ‘covers’ are eaten at home dinner tables rather than in their restaurants, according to Stampapp customer polling.
“It’s great that restaurants, cafes and bars have reopened for business but there are more people who are choosing to be cautious and collect and eat restaurant food at home,” Mr Messett said.
“We’ve developed these place settings to create the Instagram illusion of sitting in a restaurant for people who currently prefer the safety of their own chomping ground.”
Estimates suggest that more than half a billion pictures loaded to Instagram each year feature food, making it a vital part of keeping up with the Joneses.
The Table Genius placemats can be downloaded from the Stampapp website and will be rolled out to Stampapp’s hundreds of registered restaurants and cafes if successful. Customers will be able to collect their meal, having ordered and paid via the app, and a choice of one of three complimentary Table Genius placemats.
“It’s also a great way of mixing things up and celebrating foods that wouldn’t normally be seen on bone china,” Mr Messett added.
“My colleagues have placed kebabs, fried chicken and curry and chips bought from our takeaway customers on Michelin-standard settings. Some of the pictures are works of art.”