Sensory cues can help restaurants lure diners back
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Nov 9, 2021
Sensory cues can help restaurants lure diners back

While some diners remain wary about eating out, research suggests that restaurants can use scent, music, and lighting to ease them back and potentially influence food choices and spending. This presents exciting opportunities for outlets to get creative in their usage of sensory cues.

Lingering concerns around COVID-19 have forced restaurants to work hard to lure customers back to their tables. According to Dr. Dipayan Biswas, a professor of marketing at the University of South Florida, outlets can use scents, light, music, and colour to nudge people into eating out and even to influence their choices. Indeed, fragrances can signal certain characteristics about a restaurant, with cooling scents such as eucalyptus and menthol being perceived as clean, which could reassure those worried about eating out after the pandemic. Research shows that lighting can also influence food choices, with 52% of diners in one study ordering healthy options in brighter environments, compared to just 35% of those in dimly lit environments. Additionally, it is well documented that music can impact people’s enjoyment of drinks, particularly when it comes to classical music and fine wine.