Color is everywhere in our daily lives, so you might not have given much thought to the psychology behind certain colors. However, colors can elicit an emotion, make us hungry or even make us spend more money than we otherwise would. Color can also be tied into an overall brand and make people think of luxury or fun.
Here is where it gets a little confusing, though. Some people say that blue is a regal color and others say that blue makes people think of toxins. However, the majority of psychologists suggest that while blue suppresses the appetite, it is also a soothing color.
Blue is excellent at making people thirsty, so if you run a coffee shop or bar, then you might want to incorporate more blue than if you own a dining establishment. The key, as with most things, is moderation — and in this case, also choosing the right shade of blue.
Ditch the Red
You may have heard the old rule of thumb that the color red makes patrons hungry, but some experts feel it only makes them angry. This is likely because it has been overused and customers are onto tricks to try to get them to spend more money. No one appreciates getting “tricked” into something.
Instead of trying to incorporate red to make your customers hungry, try to go with neutral tones you can then accessorize with pops of color (such as a beautiful Mediterranean blue candle set on the table). Also, the brighter the red, the more it could “repel” diners. However, colors that are a bit more neutral or earthy can work well to create a soothing space.
If you plan to use blue as one of the colors in your restaurant, do yourself a favor and stick with an earthy blue that will go with most accent colors. Blue can be soothing and can make diners thirsty, so it works particularly well in a bar area, for example. Go to your local paint store or check out online color palettes for earth-tone blues.
Choosing the right blue is almost as important as the decision about whether or not you should include blue in the first place. A vivid aqua blue is going to have a far different effect than a navy blue.
There are so many different shades of the color, you’ll definitely want to take the main shade you’re using for décor and match it to the blue you’d like to use to make sure everything ends up cohesive rather than clashing.
One restaurant uses aquariums and the color blue to evoke an upscale feel to their restaurant. However, if you choose to utilize aquariums, you will want to invest in an emergency generator. Exotic fish can be expensive, and the power going out can mean life or death for those animals. You won’t want to risk not having a backup source to keep the pumps for their tank running.
Don’t Overdo the Blue
However, you really may want to think twice before you use too much blue unless your main focus is selling drinks or relaxation. The psychology behind why you shouldn’t use too much blue in your restaurant may be as simple as the fact that there aren’t many naturally occurring blue foods. Blueberries are a dark blue, but that is about the only blue food that occurs in nature.
Blues can actually suppress appetite, which really isn’t what you want in a restaurant. Since blue foods aren’t something we see often, it makes sense that the color wouldn’t make people hungry like a color we see more frequently in nature.
Some ways you can incorporate a bit of blue if the color just speaks to your soul and you want something different than any other restaurant out there include:
- Use a beautiful blue vase as the centerpiece on tables, but add bright flowers, such as white roses or daisies.
- Hang a few paintings on the wall that have splashes of blue in them.
- Invest in dinnerware that is white with a line of blue on the outside edge. Remember to stick with neutral blues.
- Use blue lettering for employee uniforms.
- Paint or tile the wall over the bar a bright blue.
- Add some blue cocktails to your drinks menu or a blue dessert, such as blueberry cheesecake.
- Use napkins in a beautiful shade of blue.
- Add a blue flower as garnish on a plated meal.
- Use blue in your logo, but again this might turn people off, so do this very cautiously and with the ability to change the color should you need to.
The key is to add small splashes here and there. It is probably a good idea to use blue on items that can be easily replaced if you feel the use of this soothing color is impacting your overall profits. Plates, centerpieces and décor are fairly easy to swap out.
At the end of the day, you have to use the colors you think represent your brand the best. Be conscious of the psychology driving consumers’ perceptions of colors and how to best utilize them so customers flock to your restaurant in droves.
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