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

Jun 14, 2013 8:52AM
it has nothing to do with disturbing other diners, management doesn't want anyone taking pics of a meal that might not look appetizing on the plate, that's why the one place allows customers to go take pics in the kitchen where they can control what's photographed.
Jan 29, 2013 1:48PM
There's some restaurants that make food that doesn't cost half the above, but it's still worth snapping, like Duck Sauce in Newtown(PA).
Jan 28, 2013 10:08PM
Take a picture of before and after and see which looks more appealing.
Jan 27, 2013 1:48AM
Hopefully the pictures include the people they are with.  Wow that one meal is more than my grocery bill for a week.  Some people have too much money and time on their hands.  Maybe a pic or two, but some people go overboard and they may be trying to stop this.
Jan 26, 2013 9:21PM
other than you could've feed the entire, hungry third world for what you've paid for lunch...  why cant the menu have a link associated with each item's presentation that you could post to your DiscraceBook account?  it would prolly be a better pic since they would use a food stylist and would even be in focus.  lol
Jan 26, 2013 8:55AM
This reminds me of the time when I was young and naive, taking photos at Hialeah, when my hostess, a Philadelphia Society Matron, sniffed to her husband: "That's why they sell post cards."
Jan 26, 2013 8:30AM
Another intrusion on our privacy by people who have no manners.  Do not need the flash going off while I am paying a king's ransom to eat whatever is on my plate.  Anyway there should be a professional photographer taking pictures for the price they charge.  No food is worth that much--no food.   Not even the food of the Gods.  Have the staff take picture of every dish served and then charge the people for the pics.
Jan 26, 2013 7:14AM
It is rude to talk on a cell phone or take pictures. It disturbs others. Have we become so self cintered that we do no take the time to be kind? The most expensive meal I ever had was $190 for 2 including tip at the City Tavern in Philly. Terrible service good food but nothing I would ever go for again. Be kind/
Jan 25, 2013 5:52PM
If I had to pay that much for a meal I own that food, I will draw it, paint it, take a picture of it or whatever I want to do with it...your not putting rules and regulations on me. especially when I paid you. Its a tech world everything is social.
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 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 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 4:35PM

Sounds kind of stupid and foolish, and I'm not paying for or WAITING FOR my food anyplace...FOR 2 HOURS or more....But I might spend 3 hours having dinner, but that includes cocktails and then maybe after dinner brandy or something.....For probably under $75 anywhere I go....Usually less.


And who wants to see a picture of my Double Cheeseburgers and Fries at Mickey Ds...??

Jan 25, 2013 3:11PM
Please explain to me why we're taking pictures of our food?
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 3:05PM
Wow, but they still need $60 billion for that Sandy clean-up. Guess who's buying lunch.
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 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 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.
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?
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