Diners don’t buy exclusively on how food tastes. Never have, never will. Taste matters, but customers also make purchase decisions based on a wide variety of experiential and environmental criteria, including the colors they see all around them.
Are cooler tones more or less appetizing? How does the color purple differ in Western and Thai cultures? Paying close attention to the impact that color has on diners is a great way to help craft irresistible customer experiences that drive sales.
He’s feeling blue. She’s seeing red. And that child over there is green with envy. As a society, we regularly use colors to describe our feelings. So, it’s no surprise that the foodservice industry also uses colors to drive sales by eliciting similar emotions from diners. Here are some of the most common color connotations for food, according to food branding and packaging designer Jenn David Connolly. You’ll want to keep these in mind when selecting colors for any equipment, furniture, or other décor.
- Red tends to stimulate appetites.
- Yellow is an attention-grabber.
- Orange combines red and yellow, making it another appetizing choice.
- Green conjures feelings of health and eco-friendliness.
- Brown and earth tones give a wholesome, natural vibe.
- Blue can be unappetizing if not used correctly.
- Black is often considered elegant and high-end.
- White can signify clean and pure, but could also come across as stark and sterile.
Color by cultural impact
As society becomes increasingly diverse, it’s also important to consider how various cultures might interpret colors in a restaurant or foodservice setting differently.
For example, Western cultures typically view purple as a sign of royalty, while that same color symbolizes mourning in Thailand. Or consider the color red. It connotes purity in India, communism in Russia, and mourning in South Africa. Depending where your restaurant or foodservice establishment is located (or its primary audience), you have a few things to think through.
But, with so many meanings for each color, it’s also tempting to overthink all the possibilities. What’s most important is to map out a creative color strategy that accounts for cultural differences and addresses the look, feel and style your organization is going for. From paint selection to decorative lamps, tablecloths, equipment, uniforms, and more, you’ll — again — want to be strategic about your color choices.
What’s the most craveable color strategy for you? Since every dining experience is unique, it’s important to put together an overall plan that keeps customer perceptions in mind. Again, don’t hesitate to tap online resources, such as this helpful guide about the psychology of color use in restaurants and bars. Or, for a longer read, you can pull inspiration from this academic article.
Understanding the role color can play in foodservice environments will help you position yourself as a strategic business partner that knows just how to get those sales flowing. And, as always, you can count on Hatco to provide both a wide variety of equipment color options, as well as expert assistance. Let us know how we can help!