Communicating through food

Communicating through food -Anastasia Niforos

After spending the last five days in Cardiff, Wales I became very observant of the way food and drink were exhibited throughout the small city. I noticed that the way in which it was communicated was much different than what I have seen in the U.S. I realized that this, in fact, was Cardiff’s way of mass communicating with the people that live or visit there. This was how they were able to get people to come in and eat or drink in their restaurants, bars or clubs. Much of what I saw in Cardiff was the deals displayed outside of restaurants and bars, as well as menus with a certain theme and look, and the mobile food on bikes presented around the main strip.

If someone were to walk up and down the main strip in Cardiff one would notice the immense amount of restaurants, bars, and clubs that are available on every corner. Each is unique in their own way and offer something special. This usually happens to be a deal of some sort, like 2-for 1-Cocktails or offers that available until a certain time. Almost every place that I passed by presented this outside and I thought it was a great communication tactic. First, it got people to stop where they were and read whatever deal is available at the time. Secondly, it was a way for people do way their options. They can decide which place was more suitable for them at the moment.

Two places that stood out to me most were Missoula and nineYards. Missoula was a restaurant by day, but dance club by night. They offered 2-for-1 Cocktails Sunday through Friday all day and Saturday until 8 pm. Located right outside was a sign that showed this and two color cocktails were presented on the front. You can get two cocktails for the price of one, what more could you? It was great communication strategy, but even better sales bargain. Now nineYards is an Italian coffee and Prosecco bar which has food and drink details until 10 am. This was displayed on a blackboard outside and written in large capital white letters were the deals. The style fits with the place and it was easily noticed. When I walked by both of these places I stopped because the signs caught my eye.

In the U.S. we do this sort of communicating through deals to some extent. Sometimes I will see restaurants and bars promoting food or drink with signs displayed outside, but nowhere near what it is like in Cardiff. I think the way we communicate deals is more through social media. I know in East Lansing when the bars are promoting specials for the night it can be found on their Instagram. Or as I walked through the streets of Chicago sometimes restaurant or bars will have the deals on a sign outside. I think overall though Cardiff definitely mass communicates these in a better way and I think if the U.S. did something more like this maybe it could help people to actually see what these places are offering without having to ask.

Another thing I noticed about the communication factor within these restaurants and bars was the menus being displayed outside. Almost every place I passed by had one and it became so common that I eventually became used it. I expected there to be a menu plastered on the wall next to every restaurant I passed. I thought this was smart because people could walk by and see the menu next to the restaurant and then go from there. They could look at what food and drinks are offered and determine if the price fits within their budget. I also noticed the theme and navigation within each menu.

When looking at the one outside of Missoula the menu had a white background and items were separated with boxes. Different fonts were used throughout and the black font color made the menu pop. It was aesthetically fitting with the fun atmosphere of the place and I thought the different fonts helped with that feeling. Another restaurant that I noticed with a selective theme was Walkabout. Their menu was very colorful, separated with chunky boxes and used a font that was almost playful and childlike. Again, this portrayed to the feeling within the restaurant and their menu reflected this. It’s interesting to see the ways in which certain restaurants and bars communicate what they offer through their menus. Each is significant to that place and reflects the experience one might get from eating or drinking there.

In the U.S. it isn’t very common for restaurants or bars to post their menus outside. I have seen a handful of places that have done this and I found it very convenient. I think it would really benefit restaurants and bars if they posted their menu outside because it’s an easy way to communicate with a potential customer. I loved walking up to places in Cardiff and being able to instantly look at their menu to see if I wanted the food and if I could afford it. The form of mass communication was deliberate and allowed for an easy way to determine what I wanted.

The last thing that caught my attention in the city was the mobile food bikes that were scattered along the main strip. On one of my last days in Cardiff, I noticed coffee-bike, which is a mobile coffee company that sells coffee on the go. I had never seen anything like this before in the U.S. and I was instantly intrigued. The mobile bike was very classy and included much of what you would find at a coffee shop. It was such a smart way to catch people who were on the way to work or school and needed a pick me up. I associated this with a form of mass communication because of the simple fact of how this coffee-bike was being presented.

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Mass communication is everywhere and it’s interesting to see how it’s displayed among different countries.

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