While some restaurants and chefs have banned Instagram privileges at their five star tables, more might start making the flawlessly filtered food selfie an essential part of the meal — the part where the check comes. Instead of being annoyed by patrons documenting the dinner du jour, one company is seeing social media for what it can verrry easily be: free advertising. Talk about a glass half full. And speaking of, could we get a refill when you get a chance? <3

In one of our favorite social media marketing stunts yet, frozen food company Bird’s Eye is running a pop-up restaurant called The Picture House in the UK that lets you take care of the bill with an Instagram post of your meal. Pull up a seat at The Picture House and order from menu items that feature Bird’s Eye foods, use their hashtag of choice and your check arrives with a big fat zero on it. We are IN.

A scroll through the ‘Grams tagged with #BirdsEyeInspirations show pretty delicious-looking dishes, like kiev on a bed of asparagus and lightly minted petits pois, smoked aubergine, goat cheese and soft herb fritters served over Mediterranean vegetable rice, even a dessert made with macerated strawberries. We only think they should improve the lighting over there… or at least call in food photo booth #Dinnercam.

There’s a part of us that can’t help but say, well, duh. What actually makes your mouth water: an Instagram of a delicious meal or a wordy three and a half star review? Rarely the latter, but we’ve been known to scream WHERE DID YOU EAT THAT TREAT? in the comment section of a few friends’ scrumptious social postings.

The concept isn’t crazy and may not be new — you’re able to unlock deals at restaurants, bars and stores with Foursquare or Yelp check-ins, get discounts when you encourage friends to sign up for subscription services you use, move up in “line” for access to a product by Tweeting or Facebooking about it — but this is a smart, seamless application of it. It works for the company, it feeds our craving for food porn and, hey, who doesn’t love a free meal? Hashtags. It’s what’s for dinner.

(Photos: The Drum)