Neurogastronomy

Which colours will arouse your customers?

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

A panel of diners had their brainwaves tested
A panel of diners had their brainwaves tested

Related tags: Coffee, Heston blumenthal

Brainwave technology has been used to determine how colour affects diners’ moods and eating experiences in the leisure sector, revealing eight colours pubs should consider when dressing their businesses.

From the walls to napkins, the colours a business chooses to put in front of a customer will either arouse them or flatten the mood of a dining-out experience, according to the study.

Green
Is green the right colour for your customers?

A panel of diners had their brainwaves and heart rates measured in a controlled experiment by hygienic products company Tork, to see how colour can impact dining experiences.

Each person had to spend five minutes in one of eight different coloured rooms while consuming food and drink of the same colour as the room.

Matching colours 'doubles sales'

The information was then fed into a database to determine how each colour impacted a person’s mood and consumption patterns.

Orange
Will orange arouse the punters?

Jamie Wright, UK and Ireland communications manager for Tork, explained: “Colours affect dining experiences and businesses should know how this can affect them.”

Matching different tableware to different environments and different times of the day could help boost sales.

Meanwhile, experts previously told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser ​that getting things such as place settings and the colour of an environment right (or neurogastronomy) has the potential to double food​ sales.

Another skill for chefs

Stefan Cosser, a former senior development chef at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck experimental kitchen, said: “Neurogastronomy is simply knowledge that can be added to a chef’s repertoire like any other skill that applies to our job.”

The University of Oxford’s professor of experimental psychology, Charles Spence, also highlighted how simple it was to use neurogastromy in a business.

He said: “It depends on everything from eye-appeal on the plate to the shape and colour of the plateware.

“Food is never just food, no matter how wonderful what you prepare is. While [neurogastronomy] insights come from brain science, the actual suggestions are often very simple.”

Which colour means what?

  • Green: ​Relaxing, calm and welcoming. A good environment for lunch and coffee with family or friends
  • Orange:​ Fun, modern, welcoming and exciting. Ideal for breakfast or lunch with children or friends
  • Blue:​ Deeply relaxing, welcoming and calming, but unromantic. Would work well for a family-friendly pub
  • Yellow: ​Increases arousal, but can also increase stress levels. Makes guests feel like they’re in a fun place and is ideal for breakfast or coffee situations
  • Red:​ Levels of creativity rise when red is used. It increases heart rates and levels of creativity. Strongly associated with romance and fun and is suitable for evening drinks or dinner with friends or on a date night
  • White:​ Apparently the best colour for a business setting as it is seen as a luxurious and modern colour. However, it scored low on arousal emotions, such as fun and excitement
  • Black: ​Luxurious, modern and sophisticated. However, it is also seen as boring and unwelcoming. Suitable for late-night drinks with friends or a date
  • Brown:​ Traditional, relaxing and the best choice for creating arousing experiences.

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