Humans are extremely visual beings, and the psychology of color plays a large role in how we perceive as well as behave in any given space. Designers and restaurateurs alike are utilizing color-based research to increase profitability and even determine customer’s length of stay. Studies have concluded that colors can directly impact what customers purchase, as certain colors evoke feelings of hunger and thirst. Effective restaurant design expertly utilizes color to create a desired ambiance and stimulate customer appetites, a winning combination that leads to long term success. If you are considering opening or remodeling a restaurant here are some color psychology tips to keep in mind...
The Illusion of Space with Pale Neutrals: White, Beige, and Light Grey
Using lighter colors such as white, beige or light greys is an excellent way to make a cramped space look and feel larger. While lighter colors are helpful in creating the illusion of space, they can also increase the duration of your customers stay. This is because colors such as white and beige create a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere, and would work well for upscale restaurants with multiple courses.
Ideal for: Small spaces, upscale restaurants
Not ideal for: High traffic or quick serve restaurants, as the relaxed atmosphere encourages customers to linger.
Feeling Natural: Green and Brown
Greens and browns have always been closely associated with nature, and therefore tends to give customers a feeling of tranquility while encouraging them to get comfortable and stay a while. These colors work great for health-oriented restaurants, as green is closely related to vitality and eco-friendliness. Green also tends to induce thirst, so it would work feel for restaurants that have an emphasis on their drink menu.
Ideal for: Health oriented restaurants, specialty drink restaurants
Not ideal for: Dimly lit restaurants
Stimulating Thirst: Blue and Purple
There’s a reason that you don’t see very many blue and purple restaurants, as these particular colors are known appetite suppressors. This is due to the fact that there aren’t too many naturally blue and purple hued foods, and therefore we don’t associate eating with these colors. However these cool tones are known to evoke thirst and would work well in establishments with an emphasized drink menu. Blue is often linked to the feeling of relaxation, and could work well in a café or a serene eatery.
Ideal for: Specialty drink restaurants, Greek and seafood restaurants
Not ideal for: Buffets
Exciting Hunger: Red, Orange and Yellow
The fast food industry has dominated with this color combination for decades as these eye-catching colors are renowned for stimulating appetite. These bright colors elevate the heart rate and blood pressure, encouraging customers to dine quickly and leave. Brands such as McDonald’s and KFC have utilized color psychology to encourage fast turnover, and the same ideology would work well for small eateries or takeout oriented locations.
Ideal for: Quick-serve or takeout oriented restaurants
Not ideal for: Upscale restaurants, as these colors can make customers feel rushed
While color psychology offers restaurateurs some excellent insight into the behavior of their customers, one must remember that there is no definitive guide to using color in a restaurant. Successful restaurant design is all about creating an atmosphere that reflects your brand, so never be afraid about asking a designer to incorporate a certain color into your space. When used correctly, color is a highly effective way to create a desired mood that has the power to revolutionize a customer’s dining experience.