Design in restaurants is art and science. It is aimed to create the best possible customer experience while functioning effectively and efficiently for your business. And although the dining experience is focused on food and taste, it is more so experienced visually through sight. Which is why the first fundamental when it comes to design in your restaurant is the use of
Human beings react to colors physiologically. Some of these reactions are good for the dining experience and some are bad. Knowing which colors trigger which response and making sure you are using colors intentionally and effectively is an integral part in the execution of your design.
This color wheel depicts the physiological responses to different colors and the impact it has on appetite. The color wheel can be divided into three sections: Strong Appetite Stimulants, Mild Appetite Stimulants, and Appetite Suppressants.
Strong Appetite Stimulants
Shades of red are all strong appetite stimulants: “Red is abundant in nature, and the brain’s reptilian response to it is a carryover from the days when our ancestors were still hunters and gatherers. Red, especially bright reds, would usually signal energy-dense, sugar-packed fruit or vegetables” Red, orange, and yellow are the most appetite-stimulating colors and should absolutely find their way into your design.
Mild Appetite Stimulants
Green and turquoise are mild stimulants: “Green signals edible, benign, non-poisonous plants. However, these plants are merely fibrous, not sugar packed like most colorful fruit, which provide a jolt of energy. These days, green is also associated with health. This is unsurprising, given that, again, most green things are fibrous and don’t have sugar.” So, although these colors are not as stimulating as the reds, they illicit very beneficial feelings and associations when it comes to the dining experience, particularly when it comes to health.
The rest of the colors on the wheel are appetite suppressants. Food does not commonly exist in nature in these colors, at least not food that you would want to eat. As a result, these colors do not induce appetite and should be used sparingly or as a means to highlight more stimulating colors.
The way we perceive and react to colors is deeply rooted in evolutionary biology and relatively profound when it comes to our dining experience. So take a look at your restaurant, identify the colors you might be using that are not contributing to your design and replace them with something more suitable. And if you find that you are not using much color in general, think about how you can incorporate some of the stimulating colors into your space and make it more stimulating. Being conscious and intentional in the use of color in this regard is a simple way to improve the ambiance and effectiveness of your restaurant and its branding.