Some restaurants don’t mind. Others do. Cowboy Chow has a no-photos policy. WTF?
Cameras used to turn up for birthday parties and celebrations. Now they’re used by diners who want to share the details of their dinner among friends or online. Whether you’re at a tasting or a clubby food diner, you’ll find people/bloggers clicking away, documenting their dinner.
Most restaurants tolerate it, as long as it doesn’t affect other diners. But some places enforce a ban out of fear that a competitor is stealing their recipes or ideas. That is plain idiotic. When something is copyrighted, you can’t take a picture of it without permission. But can a plate of food be copyrightable? Ummm, no. And even if it were, people could simply take notes on paper or get a to-go (take out) order to get a dish home to break it down.
But if they are doing it because they are disturbing the atmosphere and other guests, they should and have every right to do so (similar to a mobile phone usage policy) as long as they’re not applying it in a discriminatory manner.
People are passionate about food. If customers and foodies are going to take pictures here are some simple tips… Don’t use flash. Don’t move around the table much. Don’t take so many photos that the dish gets cold. Good or bad, it is PR. If a person is putting on the Internet, it’s only going to help.