Marketing Restaurants

Restaurant Color Design: All Colors Matter

All colors matter. They are everywhere and they play with your emotions without saying or doing anything to you. You, as a restaurant owner, can incorporate the power of color to grow your business strategically. Read to equip yourself with industry insights on common restaurant color design tactics.

But first, there is something to keep in mind: like cake, too much of one thing isn’t always a good thing. Too much of one color can backfire by causing reduced appetite.

Don’t go for just 1 emotion, learn these color design practices so you can bring out a range of desired emotions!

Restaurant Color Design and the Influence it Has on Customers

Listed below are common color schemes used in restaurants and how they affect customers.

Light, Bland Colors: Beige, White and Light Grey

Colors like white, beige, and light grey may be bland but work like magic when used the right way. Bright colors like white and beige for instance, give a spacious impression. As a result, walls and ceilings with these colors can put the clusterphobes at ease.

If your restaurant is small, you could alleviate the feeling of tightness by painting your walls and ceilings with these colors. Otherwise, these colors are still ‘magical’ for inducing relaxation, which will keep guests held captive (by their will!) for longer.

restaurant color design with light colors help create space and put guests at ease like shown in the inside of this restaurant
Restaurant color design with light colors for the walls and ceilings expand the room visually, promoting relaxation. Photo Credit: Flickr via‍ Compfight cc

Nature Colors: Green and Brown

Green symbolizes nature which helps promote feelings of harmony and tranquility. Along with green, brown also instills feelings of comfort and a sense of stability like roots grounded in the earth. Compounded together, these colors create an enchanted forest that encourages guests to linger and potentially order more food.

Restaurant color design with green and brown helps guests relax and stay longer like this restaurant with green walls
Green and brown are colors that represent nature, which help guests feel comfortable and grounded. It also compliments health-conscious menus.

Is your restaurant health-conscious? If so, using green in your interior design is the best way to place emphasis on your healthy and balanced menu.

Before you decide to paint your walls green…make sure you have good lighting or else risk giving off a ‘swamp’ vibe instead of lushly forest. Also, too much brown can create an unappetizing mood, so use it sparingly.

Fast Colors: Red and Yellow

Speed, excitement, high-energy, and superhero Flash. These describe environments that are red and yellow.

Studies show that when people see red and yellow, their heart rate and blood pressure escalates. This stimulates conversation and speedy, impulsive eating which is ideal for high-traffic restaurants.

Fast-food chains utilize these effects perfectly as their model is based on customers leaving as quickly as they came in. How many red and yellow fast-food restaurants come to mind in 1 minute?

Red restaurant color design is used mostly by fast food chains for their fast nature like In-N-Out Burger pictured here
Fast-food chains infamously utilize red to match their high-traffic model. Burger King, McDonald’s, KFC, In-N-Out Burger, Sonic, and Bojangles are few of many.

Unappetizing Colors: Blue and Purple

What is your favorite blue or purple food? If grapes and eggplants are the only foods that come to mind, then the point is made. These colors don’t encourage an appetite because they don’t remind us of any food.

What these colors do however is evoke thirst which makes it ideal for cafes, bars, or lounges. Blue also has a calming effect which entices guests to enter leisure mode and order ‘another’ last round of drinks. These effects work well in hookah bars or even the liquor spot in the corner of your restaurant.

Incorporating blue and purple in your restaurant color design is best suited for beverage sections
Blue and purple are more suited for beverage shops or bars for their association with a variety of drinks

If you have a seafood restaurant, blue can encourage consumption of seafood and can help create an immersive ocean-themed ambiance.

Adventurous Colors: Orange and Yellow

Orange and yellow stand out in pretty much any setting. They are colors that represent boldness and a care-free attitude.

Cafes and dessert shops like yogurt bars are ideal for this enthusiastic color combo. It may trigger an adventurous indulgence in sugar land but that’s always good for the shop. The sugar rush will also get people talking and lounging around longer.

Orange and yellow colors promote fun and a carefree attitude which is perfect for cafes and dessert shops
Orange and yellow go well with cafes, yogurt bars, and dessert shops for their carefree and fun expression

Choose the Right Color Design for Your Restaurant

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

Pablo Picasso

The color combinations and their effects on customers listed in this post are only general guidelines. To determine the best colors for your restaurant, you will have to first remind yourself what you want your guests to feel and how it connects with the restaurant identity. Use this post as a guideline but never shy away from a little experimentation!

What colors will you use? Why? Comment and let us know!

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