It’s 2019 – if your restaurant bathroom isn’t Insta-worthy, did I even eat there?

Katy Rose writes about her discovery of bathroom selfies. Katy is a food writer and digital content specialist for Eat Out and Food24. Formerly a restaurant manager, she now spends her days researching South African food culture and how we engage with food, both at home and in public.

It was about six months ago when the pictures started appearing in my Instagram feed: a mirror selfie here and a pouty pic there. Soon there were so many that I could no longer ignore them. Then, with the opening of The Commissary in late 2018, the restaurant loo selfie officially reached peak influence, bringing epic FOMO with it.


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Though the trend could easily be blamed on millennials (as most things are), admiring or judging a restaurant’s bathroom situation is nothing new. It’s common to hear “You have to see the loo!” whispered when a friend comes back to the table, or warnings bandied about regarding the lack of soap or harsh lighting.


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Beauty in every corner #boschendalbathroom #visitour

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In the Philippines, public toilets are euphemistically referred to as comfort rooms, and that’s exactly how I want to feel. Every element of a restaurant affects our experience and memory of it, whether we acknowledge it or not, and a few pale melamine stalls are just not good enough anymore. At best they feel cold and institutional and, at worst, like a public outhouse built on the edge of the parking lot.

Luckily, restaurants have taken notice – a statement restroom is now almost essential for a new restaurant opening in Cape Town or Jozi.

And what are the ingredients for a winning bathroom? It’s fairly straight forward. All you need is good lighting (that is also flattering!), a large mirror, bold graphic wallpaper or tiles, and a few props. The latter adds a little glam and can include flowers, plants or fancy fittings.


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One of those days where you put all your faith in red lipstick, and just hope for the best, really.

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Ta-da, you have Insta-gold! Yours will join the hundreds of posts going live on Instagram every weekend.


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Tonight’s dress … well skirt. It took up so much space in the car I couldn’t find the gearbox . @davidtlale @boschendalwines

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And yes, I am very much in on the trend. Even while standing in line for the loo, I might just take a selfie.

How do you feel about restaurant bathrooms? Which restaurants have the fanciest restrooms? Tag us in your best #restaurantbathroom pics on Instagram!

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