Why restaurants are banning shutterbugs

Some high-end eateries -- where diners can pay more than $100 each -- are telling customers not to take snapshots of their food.

By Aimee Picchi Jan 25, 2013 10:57AM

Image: Restaurant (Medioimages/Photodisc/Getty Images/Getty Images)Americans adore food, and just behind indulging our taste buds is a love of photographing our meals. Sometimes it seems the whole reason for Facebook (FB) is to allow friends to brag about their latest culinary adventures.  

But some high-end eateries are banning or limiting photography, reports The New York Times. The reason? Despite paying as much as $175 per person for a meal, shutterbugs risk, well, bugging other customers with the habit.

Among them is the pricey eatery Momofuku Ko, where a recent diner recounted her experience when she started snapping photos. The restaurant, described by Times' reviewer Frank Bruni as "wholly inventive," charges a set price for its meals: $125 per person for dinner, $175 per person for lunch. It also warns to allow three hours for lunch, and two for dinner.

With a pricey, inventive meal that was set to last hours, the diner decided to take a shot of her shaved foie. The diner, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, then says she received a reprimand from the staff. Photos are banned at the hot eatery, she was told.

"I was definitely embarrassed," she said. 

At Bouley, photo-crazed diners are escorted to the kitchen, so that they can snap away without making the dining room "like a circus," chef David Bouley told the Times. 

"It’s like, here’s the sauce, here’s the plate. Snap it. We make it like an adventure for them instead of telling them no,” he added. 

A prix-fixe, six-course dinner at Bouley will set you back $175. With wine pairing, it'll cost $280.

Other high-end eateries are more lax about photography -- but set limits. New York's Per Se and Le Bernardin discourage flash photography. 

"Everybody wants to get their shot. They don’t care how it affects people around them," Bouley spokesman Steven Hall complained to the Times. 

More in moneyNOW

Jan 25, 2013 11:37AM
Hell wil freeze over before I pay $175 for a meal.
Jan 25, 2013 1:02PM
This is ridiculous. I have never been disturbed when dining by anyone taking photos. Usually they are not making a scene, just snapping a photo, and most of the time there is no flash. Plus, if I paid $175 to dine somewhere, I would be taking as many photos as I wanted, like it or not. How stupid, and what poor customer service.
Jan 25, 2013 1:26PM
you guys have obviously never had a friend who posted a picture of every meal she ate EVERY day. It's annoying and stupid. No one cares what you're eating. 
Jan 25, 2013 4:48PM

Why do some people feel the need to document every minute of their lives and share it with the world, most of which doesn't give a crap?


God, I hate smartphones and social media...

Jan 25, 2013 1:00PM
If your paying that kinda money for a meal for one person, you have too much money and should do something better than buy a meal that definitely isn't worth that amount.
Jan 25, 2013 1:53PM
Now if hotels will just ban bedbugs!
Jan 25, 2013 3:11PM
Please explain to me why we're taking pictures of our food?
Jan 25, 2013 1:11PM
I could never understand why people take pictures of their food. Seems foolish to me.
Jan 25, 2013 1:09PM
At those prices, if they'd told me it was against restaurant policy to take a picture of the meal I'd simply let them know that I'd be taking a photo of it the next day, put it on FB and give them full credit...
Jan 25, 2013 3:03PM
no meal is worth that kind of money especially if its just that crap thats just about presentation on the plate and not enough food to feed a mouse.
Jan 25, 2013 5:27PM
These ripoff joints are for people who have more money than sense. The diners who go for the mandatory 18-20% tip are dumber than dirt also. No arrogant bunch of restaurant ripoff goons will tell me what to tip. Got it Jack?
Jan 25, 2013 2:47PM
I thought lunches are usually less expensive than dinners?  this doesn't make sense to me.  and who has time for a 3 hour lunch?
Jan 25, 2013 1:38PM
This would be change real quickly from the best most expensive meal that I ever had to, the best, most expensive meal that I will never eat again. Try to tell me that I can't take a pic of a meal that I paid for. Peace OUT
Jan 25, 2013 2:03PM
Jan 25, 2013 3:07PM
Many people who'd go out to spend that kind of money on dinner and  then use their Iphone for photos, Facebook, and blogs are trying to prove they are high social status. Many narcissistic people's main ambition by instict is to always work in proving they are a boss man entitled to being the center of attention. If you have a sibling or parent or both that's narcissist, you know what I'm talking about, thus, hate narcissists. The self centered ones come in all flavors from most uneducated **** to the highest rungs of the billionaires club, but it's apparent they are the ones successful in business and social functions for their uncanny ability of impersonating to fool people. 
Jan 25, 2013 2:59PM

I would want to take a picture of my meal on a fork before I put the one bite in my mouth---------- A guy

could starve in one of these so called 5 Star resturants/////////////////////

Jan 25, 2013 5:44PM

Wierd to be so willing to spend big bucks on a meal. Hope these folks start a food shelf filled with decent food.

Jan 25, 2013 3:05PM
Wow, but they still need $60 billion for that Sandy clean-up. Guess who's buying lunch.
Jan 25, 2013 1:13PM
Do they takes photos after they log out too?  I can see the photo album now: "this beauty is a floater I pinched after a fine meal at Daniel.'
Jan 25, 2013 2:54PM
stoopid. It's like taking pix of friends at the table, u want to capture a memory. Any place that doesn't allow it is out of touch.
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