Three years ago, Northeastern student Rachel Eng and her friend from high school started an Instagram account to post photos of food to help each other decide where to eat next.
Turns out a lot of other people wanted advice on where to dine.
Now their account, @twotastebuddiez, boasts more than 18,000 followers who use the page to navigate the food scene in Boston.
“We try to stay relevant and on top of all of the food trends and the newest restaurants opening,” says Rachel Eng, a fourth-year student at Northeastern who co-founded the account with her friend who now attends Boston College. “We want to be well known as the college student’s guide to food in Boston.”
Eng says the success of @twotastebuddiez and other food accounts testify to the central role food plays in people’s lives.
“Whenever I go on vacation, I plan my trips around places I want to eat,” Eng says. “People bond over food. And the types of food you eat are very unique to each location, so it’s a big part of culture and that’s why people like to follow food accounts.”
Eng and co-founder Maddie Gatto post photos of food daily, typically showcasing a menu item from a restaurant in the greater Boston area with which they have formed a partnership. Every Monday, they give their followers the chance to win gift cards or discounts to the restaurant they have featured on their page.
Eng and Gatto both shoot photos of the restaurants they feature. Eng, who says she works on the account 20 to 25 hours per week, makes the posting schedule and edits the photos while Gatto selects the photos to post and captions them.
Restaurants and vendors pay Eng and Gatto for posting photos, messages, and advertisements for their food. And during their shoots, their meals are usually free. But Eng says most of the money they make goes back into their business to pay for cameras and transportation.
Eng and Gatto are both heading into their final year of undergraduate studies. But Eng says they’re not worried about the future of the account. Instead, she says, they’re going to “just live in the moment,” and continue to promote @twotastebuddiez.
“We want to do bigger partnerships with nationwide brands, and continue to be an emerging force in the Boston food Instagram scene,” Eng says.