In the world of online food delivery, it's a constant battle to win customers' hearts (and stomachs). But did you know that high-quality food photos hold the key to catching their eyes, driving sales, and establishing your brand identity? A Google survey commissioned by Snappr reveals that when it comes to researching or ordering food online, users desire top-notch food photos more than anything else [1]. In fact, images are considered 1.44 times more important than menu descriptions and 1.38 times more crucial than browsing reviews.

But how can these alluring images make a difference? According to Grubhub, adding professionally-taken photos to a food delivery page can increase sales by at least 30%, while Deliveroo's statistics show that items with images next to them have an average increase of 6.5% in sales compared to those without [2]. This confirms that images play a vital role in driving online orders, with customers often gravitating towards restaurants showcasing more images in their online menus.

A Picture Is Worth Not Just a Thousand Words But Possibly A Thousand Orders

As the digital age continues to reshape the food delivery landscape, the art of visual storytelling has found its place at the heart of this transformation. Our deep dive into the data uncovers the intriguing extent of this trend, with the use of imagery in online menus varying widely from country to country. For instance, in Slovakia, a mere 21% of menu items are presented with an image, while in Pakistan, a whopping 98% of dishes are visually showcased. The United States and Japan are not far behind, with 86% and 97% of their menu items featuring images, respectively. This data paints a fascinating picture of the global food delivery scene, with each country revealing unique cultural insights and strategic approaches.

Asia, a region celebrated for its culinary diversity and rich food heritage, leads the pack in harnessing the power of visuals. Countries such as Japan, Pakistan, and Vietnam take center stage, with over 97%, 98% and 89% of their menu items visually displayed, respectively. This potent emphasis on imagery might be an offshoot of the cultural significance of food presentation  [3], a clever tactic to navigate language variations [4], or a reflection of the advanced food delivery platforms in operation [5]. Regardless of the reason, one thing is certain - visual appeal holds a key role in the recipe for success in Asia's online food delivery sector.

This visual communication strategy is also embraced by countries with considerable linguistic diversity or a significant international populace. Take the UAE, Singapore and Malaysia for example, all boasting high percentages of menu items with accompanying images. It appears that these countries have found a way to speak to everyone- with yummy food pictures. This helps them get past the language problems and reach more customers.

In mature markets such as the US and UK, where competition in the food delivery sector is intense, the use of visuals is equally prevalent. Over 50% of menu items come with inviting images, underlining the ongoing quest for differentiation in these crowded markets. A compelling image can be the decisive factor, shifting a casual browser into a confirmed customer.

These insights underscore the evolving role of visuals in the food delivery industry, offering valuable lessons for restaurants globally. They highlight the compelling potential of appealing images to captivate customers and drive sales. Whether it's a sushi roll in Tokyo, a shawarma in Dubai, or a burger in New York, a well-framed image proves to be worth not just a thousand words, but possibly a thousand orders.

Boosting Your Business with AI-Generated Images

However, not all restaurants, particularly small and medium-sized establishments, have the resources, personnel, or marketing focus to invest in professional food photography. That doesn't mean they can't still make a powerful impact with their visual content. The solution lies in AI-generated images, which present an affordable yet effective alternative to traditional food photography.

Tools like Swipeby's Snapshot app are revolutionizing the way these restaurants showcase their menu items. By generating realistic images based on descriptions and ingredients [6], AI-powered technology allows them to enjoy the benefits of visually appealing food photography without breaking the bank. The result? Potential boosts in conversion rates and ticket sizes.

How Can We Help As Dashmote? 

Dashmote is a company that specializes in big data and AI analytics for the F&B sector. While in this article we acknowledge the importance of high-quality images in the online food delivery market, our primary focus is on providing valuable insights to foster the growth of F&B companies.

Our data allows you to see how many restaurants in various countries have or don't have food pictures, giving you a clearer understanding of the current landscape. With this information, you can make informed decisions on the potential benefits of investing in high-quality images to enhance your menu and attract more customers.

Interested in gaining more insights on food delivery customers? Take a look at our previous analysis on the authenticity of food delivery platform ratings in the US. It's just another way we're helping businesses make more informed decisions.