Taste doesn’t only happen in your mouth; your overall experience is determined by a variety of other, environmental factors.

Magic happens when guests smell specific scents. When guests smell apple pie, for example, they have the tendency to remember their childhood, mother or grandmother, making them feel right at home. The scent of fresh apples, however, seems to decrease appetites because people associate apples with something they eat when hungry to curb their appetite.

Relaxing music 

Guests tend to drink and eat more (in a relaxed manner) when they’re listening to relaxing music played softly. Loud music, on the other hand, can make guests eat more food that is high in calories.

Comfortable colours

Guests feel more comfortable when in a room with cooler colours, like blue, than in a room with warm colours like red. Blue walls affect our thirst and will influence our drinking behaviour in a retardant way, but red has the opposite effect. Guests in a red room drink more but leave earlier. The colours red and blue also affect how guests perceive temperature (in a red room, guests tend to feel warmer than in a blue room).

Cozy ambiance

The cosier the ambiance, the more guests will appreciate the overall setting of the place. The greater the appreciation, the longer guests will stay. Guests find it cosy when a room is a little crowded, but not too much. So guests will attract other guests. Another important factor of ambiance is lighting. Bright lighting will make guests eat more and at a faster speed, but they’ll also crave high-calorie food. Soft, dim lighting will make the place cosier which means guests tend to stay longer as they feel more comfortable. They will therefore eat slower and thus enjoy their meal more.

The best tables

Some restaurants allow guests to make a reservation for a specific table; their best tables. Most of the time these tables are near a window and for a reason. Guests like to be able to look around, and looking outside often provides the best view. Tables that are next to the window are always booked first and guests seated there will often stay longer. They also tend to eat more slowly and thus have the time to enjoy their meal more.

Want to know more about food & psychology? Read the Food Inspiration Magazine.