Saturday, May 26, 2018

Why Restaurants Add Real Gold to Food

Why Restaurants Add Real Gold to Food

How edible gold can be an effective marketing tool for restaurants.

The History of Golden Food

It might seem like this is a modern wave of interest in adding gold to dishes but the fact is that edible gold has been of high interest to humans looking for a uniquely decadent dining experience for thousands of years.

Given the magical allure of gold and the way it captures people’s imagination shouldn’t surprise us that it has made its way into food. From India to Europe there is a long tradition from the world-class chocolaters and confectioners adding gold to cakes and pastries enjoyed by the rich, the powerful and the elite.

With the rise of more chef-owned restaurants and social media a renewed interest in gold food has been sparked. There’s nothing quite like gold to signify to your “followers” that you’ve truly made it.

How Food Turns Gold

The standards for edible gold are that it must be made of 22-24 carat gold, which is essentially pure. Other metals used, for example, in jewelry would be toxic if consumed. There are a few ways the gold is processed to be used in food.

Gold Leaf -  One eight-thousandth of a millimeter thick these sheets of gold can be laid gently on flat surfaces to make them appear gold or arranged in complex design patterns.
Gold Powder - Available in dust or spray-can form, this adds a luster that only gold can but it is not entirely opaque.
Gold Flakes - Also known as the world's most expensive glitter, gold flakes can be shaked like sprinkles over food and is especially useful when applied to foods with an uneven surface that would make using gold leaf difficult.

Since other types gold leaf is used for other purposes such as crafting, to ensure you are using the right type of gold in your food, make sure it is FDA approved and clearly marked as approved for human consumption.

Adding Gold To Your Menu

While you may expect to see gold used in traditionally fine dining -- and there is an abundance of gold items using caviar, foie gras, Kobe and truffles, a recent trend has been to use gold to market more comfort foods.

The picture of a gold donught recently made its way around the internet and social media, produced by chefs at the Manila Social Club in Miami. Recently gold hot-wings have been spotted at The Ainsworth restaurant in New York City. For years there have been examples of gold hamburgers like the “Glamburger” available from Honky Tonk restaurant in Chelsea, west London.

All That Glitters

For these restaurants they have found that adding gold to their menu is a way not only to add flare to a dish and create a memorable experience for guests, it’s also a way to generate considerable media buzz. Even if people are not willing to shell out for the nearly $2k hamburger they can say they ate at the place that serves it!

And the addition of gold to their food also provides a powerful message about who they’re looking to target in the market. There is a level of prestige associated with having something on the menu that costs thousands of dollars. It’s a way to pre-screen your restaurant guests and set a high expectation. Their $300 bill may seem insignificant in comparison when set against the context of a $1,000 chocolate sundae on the menu.

If your restaurant’s target market is the opulent and the adventurous food-goer adding gold to your menu can be a way to increase your restaurant’s brand association with the finer things while gaining a significant amount of free publicity.

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