Do's and Don’ts of Restaurant Colour Schemes

Do’s and Don’ts of Restaurant Colour Schemes
April 26, 2018 Ben Larcey
In Hospitality
Restaurant Colour Schemes

Restaurant patrons form instant impressions of the quality and tastiness of the food before they ever take a bite. It’s a subconscious process that starts with a restaurant’s appearance in general and its color scheme in particular. The right interior décor can entice new customers, stimulate their appetites and keep them coming back for more.

Do Use Bright, Happy Colours for Casual Restaurants

Ever notice how bright and cheerful fast food restaurants are? Wendy’s and Arby’s both use red. McDonald’s is partial to yellow and red. And Burger King goes all out with yellow, orange and red. Either these restaurant chains all used the same marketing firm or their marketers all knew a little something about color psychology.

Casual eateries like fast food chains, casual family restaurants and ice cream shops use these bright, happy colours because they invoke a sense of cheerfulness that helps diners to overcome their guilty feelings about eating unhealthy food. Red in particular is a great choice for your restaurant if you’re interested in a high table turnover rate. That’s because it stimulates the appetite by increasing heart rate. Diners in a red setting tend to eat more, eat faster and leave the restaurant more quickly.

Don’t Use “Unnatural” Colours

Blue is a beautiful, soothing color that works well in psychologists’ offices, but avoid its use in your restaurant’s color palette. Blue tends to make people thirsty, but less hungry. If used to excess, blue colours in a restaurant may even make diners lose their appetites, especially if the blue on the walls reflects onto the plates. This effect is attributable to a primal instinct; humans know that few foods in nature are blue. Foods that are blue are viewed with suspicion because they might be mouldy or poisonous. The same is true of purple, which is far harder to come by in nature than appetite-stimulating shades of red.

Do Evoke Cleanliness and Sophistication in High-End Restaurants

If you plan to serve up escargot in a French restaurant, choose a neutral color palette that includes plenty of white. White walls, floors or tablecloths subconsciously indicate cleanliness and luxury. Neutral colours also work well for banquet halls, upscale bistros and wedding venues. Do add in some contrasting colours, however, as too much white can trigger impressions of sterility and unfriendliness. Choose dark wood trim, richly coloured cloth napkins and artwork with earthy tones.

Now that you’ve had a crash course in colour psychology, you’re ready to design or remodel your restaurant! Just remember to consider the feelings you wish to trigger given the style of eatery you have and the type of cuisine you’re serving.